Over 400 officials receive SALDEF's Sikh cultural competency training
In late September, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights organization, trained over 150 law enforcement officers in Pittsburgh and West Virginia on Sikh religious and cultural practices.
“Until today, I was completely ignorant of Sikhism,” said Pittsburgh Police Detective Julia Stoops. “I learned a lot. This was great, one of the best training sessions I've taken in a long time.”
Representatives from the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police, West Virginia State Police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), City of Pittsburgh Police Department, and many others learned about the significance of the turban, the five articles of faith, and recommendations on how to properly interact with the Sikh American community.
“The training was a great tool to sustain and develop relationships before an incident occurs,” said SALDEF National Director Rajbir Singh Datta. “I was very pleased to see members of the local Sikh American community attend to cultivate those friendships.”
Additionally, all 250 agents of the FBI – Washington Field Office underwent Sikh American cultural awareness training and viewed On Common Ground, the first and only Sikh American cultural training film for law enforcement.
The training is part of SALDEF’s Law Enforcement Partnership Program (LEPP). SALDEF’s LEPP has trained over 36,000 law enforcement officials on Sikh religious practices; 12,000 of which have occurred in 2007 alone. [SALDEF Press Release]
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