Working for almost a decade, Amandeep Singh never lacked behind in his efforts for Sikhs to become law enforcement officers while still being able to wear the traditional turban and keep an unshorn beard.
Recently Singh, 25, of Yuba City, achieved another milestone and was appointed as the Reserve Deputy with the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department.
As a person practicing Sikhism, he adheres to his articles of faith, which means he wears a turban and has a full beard, as he doesn’t cut any hair off his body which signifies purity and strength for him.
“When I got the phone call saying that I had passed the test and got hired, I was speechless,” Singh said. “I was finally able to start pursuing my dream and the career that I’ve always wanted.”
In 2012, Singh testified at a hearing in support of Assembly Bill 1964, California’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act. The bill passed, and Singh credited the Sikh Coalition for assisting.
Before he was on his current path, he was faced with rejection after rejection which never even once stopped him fro fighting back.
“It brought my morale down, to get rejected over and over again, but I knew it was going to be a long, hard fight,” Amandeep said. “I kept at it.
It is big victory for Sikhs who want to enter into Law Enforcement. Undersheriff Jerry Read said he and the department understand Singh’s desire to become a career law enforcement officer and made concessions to accommodate him.
“We had to modify our hair regulations because we don’t allow facial hair, but we made an exception because of his religion,” said Read. “He understands that it’s a safety concern, so we met in the middle.”
Amandeep, who emigrated from Punjab to America with his parents when he was seven years old, chose a career in law enforcement because he wants to help other people. Singh said he has a turban that’s the same color as the hats Yuba County deputies wear and will tie it in a more compact way to accommodate the department’s safety concerns.
“With the beard, I put gel on it and tie it so if I get into a fight, no one can get at it so I’m not putting any other deputies at risk,” said Singh.
Singh said recently he and the full-time deputy he was riding with stopped for gas, and one of the convenience store clerks recognized him.
“When the clerk recognized me, she got emotional and thanked me for getting the law passed,” Singh said. “She was really appreciative of what I was doing.”
Singh said he was also pleased to hear a couple of other Sikhs in law enforcement benefited from his efforts. “I told myself even if I have to fight for this until I die that I would do it,” he said. Such was his dedication!
It’s very essential to see members of the Sikh faith in law enforcement roles , because until a representation of people belonging to Sikh faith are in that position, You cannot dream of getting such kind of religious freedom.
~ Source: appeal-democrat.com