The NYPD announced Wednesday it has revised policy so that police officers can now sport beards and turbans if called for by their religion, the New York Times reports. Per NBC New York, officers must get the green light before showing up for work with either, but once they get the OK, they'll be permitted to grow beards that extend up to a half-inch from their faces, as well as wear turbans in place of police caps, though the headwear has to be blue and must have the official NYPD hat shield attached to it. The Times notes the Muslim Officers Society and the Sikh Officers Association had been lobbying for these changes for their 1,100-plus members.
"We're making this change to make sure that we allow everybody in New York City that wants to apply and have the opportunity to work in the greatest police department in the nation, to make sure we give them that opportunity," Commissioner James P. O'Neill said Wednesday at a graduation ceremony for new officers. The Sikh Officers Association expressed its gratitude Wednesday, tweeting: "Thank you @NYPDONeill for allowing Sikh Officers to wear a turban in the @NYPDnews. This is a proud moment for Sikh Community." (An off-duty Muslim NYPD officer said she was recently harassed.)