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First Woman Turbaned Sikh Auxiliary Officer Joins New York Police Department

Gursoach Kaur

Auxiliary Police Officer (APO) Gursoach Kaur became the first turbaned female auxiliary officer in the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Kaur joined the NYPD recently after graduating from the New York City Police Academy recently.

The Sikh Officers Association, which represents Sikh officials in law enforcement, took to the social media to , make the announcement and  welcome Kaur.

“We are proud to welcome first Sikh Turbaned female Auxiliary Police Officer in the NYPD,” the association said on Twitter.

There are around 160 Sikh officers serving in different ranks in the NYPD, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in 2016, adding that he was hoping to increase the number of personnel belonging to the community in the department, PTI reported.

The NYPD in December 2016 announced that it will permit its Sikh officers to wear turbans and keep beards. The department relaxed its uniform policy in order to promote inclusiveness and also to provide encouragement to the members of the minority community to join the force.

“We’re making this change to make sure that we allow everybody in New York City that wants to apply and have the opportunity to work in the greatest police department in the nation, to make sure we give them that opportunity,” O’Neill had said earlier during the police academy graduation ceremony, as per PTI.

According to the revised policy, officers who belong to the Sikh community are permitted to have beards extending up to one-half inch from the face. The officers are also allowed to wear blue turbans “with a hat shield it affixed to it” instead of the traditional police cap.

Indian Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri also took to the social media to laud Kaur. “Delighted to see a turbaned lady officer in NYPD,” he said. Puri also hoped that Kaur’s engagement with the NYPD will help in fostering better understanding in the United States about Sikhism.

Many others also congratulated Kaur on the social media.

Kaur was among the 400 officers who graduated from the NYPD Police Academy at a ceremony held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in April this year. The class included officers from over 40 countries who speak 45 different languages.