October 15, 2014 (Fremont, CA) – In the final segment of our four-part series on the impact of AB1964, California’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act, we bring you the inspiring story of Officer Jaskirat Singh from Milpitas, California.
Officer Singh made headlines earlier this year when he graduated from the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium Police Academy at the College of San Mateo. Since May 2014, Officer Singh has worked for the Milpitas Police Department (MPD) as a uniformed police officer.
Officer Singh became interested in law enforcement when he joined the MPD’s Explorers Program at the age of 16. In the Explorers Program, Officer Singh won the first place trophy for Traffic Accident Investigation and the third place trophy for the Sample Entry Level Police Officer Written Examination. He knew law enforcement was the dream career for him.
Click here to watch a video interview with Officer Singh.
Today, he is a police officer in the busy Milpitas area, near San Jose, California, and has been assigned to patrol detail, including handling emergency 911 calls and conducting traffic stops.
Officer Singh has been fully accommodated for his Sikh articles of faith at work and receives significant support from MPD, his colleagues and fellow agencies. He wears a black, uniformed turban with his police uniform. He also successfully passed his gas mask test, creating a seal with the respirator.
Thanks to AB1964, the government of California has created a more welcoming environment for employees of all faiths who wish to practice their religion while pursuing their careers. Although Officer Singh is one of a handful of turbaned Sikh police officers on active duty in U.S. law enforcement, he will not be the last. In his words, “Being Amritdhari, being a practicing Sikh, it is still possible to be a police officer in the United States.”
We wish Officer Singh the best of luck in his career and commend the Milpitas Police Department for its commitment to religious diversity in the workplace. We urge other police departments across the country, including the New York City Police Department, to follow suit.
Community Leadership Makes a Difference
The AB1964 victories described in this series could not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the California Sikh community, which made numerous trips to the state capitol to testify at hearings and show their support for the law. Although the bill was introduced by State Assembly Member Mariko Yamada and sponsored by the Sikh Coalition, the grassroots activism of the California Sikh community during each step of the legislative process made all the difference.
If you know of anyone impacted by AB1964, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we urge all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly.