Members of law enforcement interact with an increasingly diverse population on a daily basis. As a result, cultural awareness is an integral part of an officer’s skill set. The Law Enforcement Partnership (LEPP) program was started in 1999 to increase awareness among our law enforcement partners about Sikh Americans and to open doors to service.
The LEPP began as the first formalized cultural awareness training program for law enforcement about Sikh Americans. The curriculum has grown and expanded with the assistance of our partners in local and federal law enforcement to reach over a hundred thousand officers and agents throughout the country. Experienced trainers teach from a curriculum based on best practices in law enforcement and community relations. These trainers have taught at agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Security Administration, and the entire police forces in Washington, DC, and Boston, MA.
The seventh largest police force in the nation, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, became the first major police department in the United States to explicitly and voluntarily allow Sikh Americans to serve as full-time, uniformed police officers while keeping their articles of faith. The Riverside (CA) Police Department followed suit becoming the first police department in California, and only the second in the nation, to proactively amend their uniform guidance so Sikh Americans can serve.
The guidelines include religious accommodations for potential recruits of the Sikh faith, and specifically allow Sikh American police officers to maintain articles of faith, including turbans and beards, while on duty.
As a testament to our partnership with Law Enforcement, our materials have been added to the curriculum of the states of California and Washington, the city of Las Vegas, NV and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In recognition of its more than decade long partnership, SALDEF was recognized with the TSA’s first Community Partnership Award at their National Conference.
Resources created by SALDEF in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies include On Common Ground, the cultural awareness roll call film produced with the Department of Justice; A Guide to Sikh American Headcoverings produced with the Department of Justice; and a Guide to the Kirpan (an article of faith) with the Department of Homeland Security.
SALDEF has conducted in-person trainings for Law Enforcement in a number of cities across the United States, including in:
- Atlanta, GA
- Boston, Chelsea, Medford, and Springfield, MA
- Daytona Beach, FL
- Detroit, MI
- Houston, TX
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Raleigh, NC
- Seattle, WA
- Mentor, OH
- New York City, NY
And at agencies and departments, including but not limited to:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Houston Police Department Academy
- Los Angeles Police Department
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- U.S. National Parks Service
- Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center
- U.S. Attorney’s Offices
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- New York Police Department
- Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department
- Boston Police Department
Please contact us if you would like to conduct a training with your department or learn more about our program.