Sikh Police Officers Can Wear Beards, Turbans in D.C.

Special order intended to make it easier for Sikhs to become police officers

By ERIC TUCKER
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 3:51 PM EDT
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Sikh Police Can Wear Beards, Turbans

D.C. Metropolitan Police Department headquarters

Sikh Americans who join the D.C. police force will be able to wear the long beards and turbans associated with their faith, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Police officials announced a special order on Wednesday aimed at making it easier for Sikhs to become police officers.

This is the first major metropolitan police department with an explicit written policy that ensures that Sikhs will be able maintain their appearance, though other law enforcement agencies have made some accommodations, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund said. The policy change is a big step forward for civil rights and for law enforcement, SALDEF executive director Jasjit Singh said.

The change won't affect many officers. There's one reserve Sikh officer going through the academy right now, SALDEF said.

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