January 1, 2020 (Irvine, CA) — Yesterday, the Irvine Police Department announced a policy development that allows uniformed officers to wear their articles of faith while serving.
“As law enforcement agencies proactively change uniform policies that prohibit religious articles of faith, observant Sikhs will no longer face the choice between pursuing their career and sacrificing their religion,” said Sikh Coalition Policy and Advocacy Manager, Nikki Singh. “We applaud the Irvine Police Department’s commitment to fair and equal employment opportunities and hope that other law enforcement agencies will follow their lead.”
The nation’s attention was drawn to the service of Sikh Americans last fall with the death of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, but Sikhs have long served honorably with their articles of faith across the United States whenever inclusive policies have allowed them to do so. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was among the first municipal agencies in the nation to accommodate an observant Sikh in 2004. Since then, accommodation policies have been developed by the U.S. Army and several law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department, Chicago Police Department, U.S. Federal Protective Service, Houston Police Department, and more.
This positive development comes on the heels of the Sikh Coalition’s engagement last November, when our staff and volunteers conducted Sikh Awareness Presentations for more than 120 employees of the same Department. Sikh Coalition staff and volunteers remain active in the state of California, where there are more than 70 gurdwaras, in efforts to directly engage educators, law enforcement, and government officials.