Thursday, May 17, 2012

D.C. Police Department Allows Sikh Officers To Wear Turbans, Beards

The Washington Post reports that yesterday the D.C. police force became the first police department in the country that proactively, and not in response to a lawsuit, is allowing Sikh police officers to wear beards and religious items such as turbans. The policy change came just as a Sikh reserve officer is about to graduate from the police academy. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called the change a common sense decision.  Under the new policy, turbans must match the police uniform and beards must be neatly tied back. The policy also allows Sikh officers to wear or carry other religious articles, including wearing a kirpan under their clothing. SALDEF issued a press release praising the new policy and crediting 8 years of cultural awareness training of the police department with laying the groundwork for the change.