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New York's Sikh policemen can wear turbans and grow beards

New York City police chiefs are letting Sikh officers wear turbans and grow their beards up to half an inch long.

NYPD commissioner James O'Neill announced the updated rules that affect all religious members following a graduation ceremony for new police recruits.

Officers must first obtain approval and the turbans must be navy blue and have the NYPD insignia attached.

Male observant Sikhs often cover their heads with turbans, which are considered sacred, and refrain from shaving their beards.

In the past, Sikh police officers had to fit their turbans under their department-issued cap and beards were forbidden because they interfered with wearing gas masks.

Mr O'Neil said there were about 160 Sikhs in the police department.

AP

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