In a major win for the Sikh community, the New York Police Department has announced a groundbreaking change in their uniform policy that will now allow Sikh officers in the force to don their turbans while on duty.
"We want to make the NYPD as diverse as possible, and I think this is going to go a long way to help us with that," James O'Neill, NYPD Commissioner, was quoted to have said in an Independent report.
This move comes as a major relief for the 160 odd Sikh men who serve in the NYPD.
"This is a proud moment for Sikh community," the Sikh Officers Association tweeted.
The traditional cap that is an integral part of the NYPD uniform will now be replaced by a navy blue turban bearing a badge, once the Sikh officer acquires written approval from senior officers. Sikh police personnel were previously required to wear a smaller wrap called 'patka' underneath the customary cap.
"It's a major change in our uniform policy, so we had to go about it carefully. And now I have the opportunity to make the change, and I thought it was about time that we did that", O'Neill added.
With regards to facial hair, while the mandated limit across the NYPD is one millimetre, Sikh personnel will be allowed to grow out their facial hair up to 1.27 cm, once prior permission from a superior has been acquired.