History was made last week when Gursoch Kaur became the first turbaned Sikh woman to join the New York Police Department.
The 20-year-old Indian-American from Queens, New York just graduated from the New York Police Academy. She joins the force as an Auxiliary Police Officer (APO). APO’s are officers assisting local precincts, police service areas and transit districts. Kaur hopes becoming an APO is one step closer to becoming a full-time, sworn-in police officer.
“Auxiliary Police Officer Kaur’s accomplishment by joining NYPD Auxiliary has been groundbreaking,” Delare Rathour, an NYPD officer and Vice President of the Sikh Officers Association, told HuffPost. “She will be joining the largest Auxiliary Police Program in the United States. Officer Kaur will make all Sikhs around the world proud! By the community seeing officer Kaur wearing a turban and in uniform they will feel nothing but pride, seeing one of their own serving her community.”
With over 35,000 officers in the NYPD, only 190 are Sikh and of those only 10 are females, according to the statistics of the Sikh Officers Association. Kaur is not only one of the very few Sikh females in the NYPD, but also the first female turbaned Sikh, which in itself is a beautiful moment of diverse representation in our armed forces.
It wasn’t too long ago that turbans were not permitted in the NYPD. Interestingly, in the Sikh religion, the turban stands for honor, compassion, service and many other values that coincide with the values of the police force. It wasn’t until December 2016 that the rule was finally dismissed. Today Sikhs are permitted to wear a blue turban with the NYPD logo.
Needless to say, her achievement has sparked celebration, especially among the Sikh community.
Sikh Officers Asso is proud to welcome First #Sikh Turbaned Female Auxiliary Police Officer in the NYPD APO Gursoch Kaur and other Auxiliary Police Officers graduated from the Academy. We are proud of you. Your service will be a motivation for others to join the Law enforcement pic.twitter.com/yp8UxpyHua
— Sardar Harpreet Khattri (@harpreetKhattri) May 19, 2018
20-year-old Gursoch Kaur just became the first Sikh woman to join the NYPD. 👏👏👏 https://t.co/zbuTPF4vV8
— MAKERS (@MAKERSwomen) May 25, 2018
Shabbash Gursoch Kaur!
We are proud of you as you become the first turbaned female Auxiliary Police Officer in New York Police Dept 🙏🏻
— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) May 19, 2018
My new heroine: Gursoch Kaur. More diversity on modern Police forces, please! https://t.co/zDhMeSoHcN
— Malcolm P. Johnson (@admiralmpj) May 25, 2018
Kaur says that she is glad that people are questioning her turban because it has allowed her to spread knowledge about her religion and culture.
“I feel blessed. The only reason people are interested is because of my dastar (turban),” said Kaur in conversation with Desi Talk. “People haven’t seen anything like that. It’s great because it gives me an opportunity to tell them what’s behind the turban, educate them. That’s how we love one another.”
Aside from shattering that glass ceiling for Sikh women everywhere, Kaur is also a student at Nassau Community College where she majors in accounting.