Vegas PD's Custom Sikh Curriculum
By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 10:11 pm
SALDEF's 'On Common Ground,' a law enforcement training video on Sikh religion and customs, is part of the Las Vegas cultural awareness training that also includes information specific to the local Sikh community.
Photo Source: SALDEF
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department created and released this month a custom Sikh cultural awareness module in its training program for law enforcement.
In January, the police department’s Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, the Sikh American community of Clark County and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund together develop the course to inform local law enforcement officials about the Sikh community and its cultural practices, said Kavneet Singh, SALDEF’s managing director.
Most of the material was previously produced and used by SALDEF, a Washington-based advocacy group, to train numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement departments, including the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.
But this version was specifically tailored to the needs of the Las Vegas area, profiling the population and location of the Sikh community, including the location of the two gurdwaras, for the likely interactions law enforcement officers may have in the course of their duties.
Coincidentally, that interaction began as the curriculum was being developed when Amanpreet Singh, a 7-Eleven storeowner and father of two young boys was shot to death on March 30 outside a Wells Fargo Bank. “Police officers were able to connect to the community more easily,” Kavneet Singh said. Although his wife, Amandeep Kaur, held a news conference at the police department to encourage people to come forward with information about the murder of her husband, leads eventually dried up.
Although the Sikh training is not required at this time, the department is considering making it mandatory, Kavneet Singh added.
“I am proud of our long standing tradition in providing the best possible cultural awareness training to our organization,” said Sheriff Doug Gillespie, in a news release. Our valued collaboration… has produced a unique and informative curriculum which will serve to strengthen our partnership with the Sikh American community.”