October 18, 2019 (Trenton, NJ) – More than 30,000 police officers in 550 police departments across New Jersey will soon have access to Sikh Cultural Diversity Training thanks to a year-long effort by the Sikh Coalition and other Sikh organizations.
In recent years, bias incidents—including prejudice and hate crimes against Sikh community members—have been trending upwards in New Jersey. To address this issue head-on, the office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal invited the Sikh Coalition, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, United Sikhs, and Sikh American Veterans Alliance in developing an elective training course for police officers.
After significant deliberation amongst Sikh organizations and law enforcement, New Jersey has developed a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, and in-depth training on Sikhism in collaboration with the CLEAR Institute, U.S. Department of Justice - Community Relations Service, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, and the Bridgewater Police Department. As a result of the Sikh Coalition’s leadership in this effort, officers will have access to instruction on the Sikh articles of faith and guidance for respecting religious rights more broadly. New Jersey Sikhs will even be able to help facilitate these trainings by volunteering as trainers for the course; those interested can sign up for more information here
. Please state in the sign up form that you’re interested in delivering accredited law enforcement trainings in New Jersey!
“Engaging with the Sikh Coalition has been essential to building a training program that prepares New Jersey police officers to engage with all our state's diverse communities,” said Attorney General Grewal. “At the same time, this training will also prepare law enforcement to better respond to and investigate bias incidents, thereby ensuring the continued safety and well-being of all of our residents.”
The state of New Jersey is currently piloting the new training, the first of which was conducted today and dedicated in honor of the late Deputy Dhaliwal of the Houston area, who passed away in the line of duty. Click here to view pictures from the first training
. After this trial period, the Sikh Coalition will consult on revisions and additions for future presentations. From there, the training will be implemented across the state with in-person sessions as well as a video version to reach the widest-possible range of officers. The Sikh Coalition looks forward to completing this project—and continuing our engagement with government and law enforcement across the country in service of equal treatment and respect for Sikhs and minority groups everywhere.
“No one should ever feel disrespected or humiliated because law enforcement did not understand how to interact with a Sikh,” added Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy Sim J. Singh. “We are appreciative of Attorney General Grewal’s commitment to educating law enforcement about Sikhs and other religious communities, as well as the efforts of our fellow Sikh organizations to complete this critical project.”
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.