Turbaned Sikhs to serve in Washington police

Washington, May 17: Sikh police officers would soon be seen in operation in the American capital, Washington, in their turbans and other articles of faith.

The American city gave the green light for the Sikh police officers to sport turbans and beards, making it the first major US city to accommodate the religious articles of faith.

The announcement was made by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) chief Cathy Lanier who said that 4,000 officers had gone through cultural training to sanitise them to the Sikh faith.

Lanier said the first Sikh-American police officers with turbans and beards were expected to join the force in August. Sikhs are required by their faith to wear turban, sport beard and carry a ceremonial knife and these have often come in conflict with codes in Western nations where police and army men are required to be clean shaven.

The US Army since 2010 has made exceptions for Sikh soldiers to serve with their articles of faith.

Turbaned Sikhs are already serving in Canada and Britain. Announcing the new uniform policy, the Washington police chief said, "Sikh Americans may protect the Nation's Capital and may serve their community as full-time officers. This reflects the promise we made to have a police force that serves as a model for those around the world."


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