With the objective of following the Human Rights Code, one of the goals of police departments is to hire ‘minority’ groups. One of these minority groups is the Sikh community and young men from their community are being actively recruited.  Respect for their religious beliefs is necessary to encourage Sikhs to join the police department.

The Sikh religion has many rules and regulations which cause limitations to be placed on the duties that can be assigned to a police officer who also happens to be a Sikh.  Sikhs are not allowed to cut their hair nor shave their beards.  They are required to wear a turban.

Police officers assigned to motorcycle duty must, by law, wear a helmet.  Sikhs, by their religious obligations are not permitted to cover their turbans.

Wearing a turban and having a beard makes a person stand out in a crowd more, so it is difficult to assign “plain clothes” duties like crowd control and drug squad detail to Sikhs.

One of the duties frequently assigned to a new police officer is the duty of hanging around public washrooms posing as a “john” and watching out for perverts.  Posing as a “john” while wearing a beard and turban would uniquely identify the person as a Sikh and this act would reflect unfavourably against the Sikh community, so a Sikh would not be asked to take this duty.

The Criminal Code forbids the carrying of concealed weapons, with an exemption written into the laws for the Sikh community to allow them to carry ceremonial swords.  Therefore, a police officer who is a Sikh may have his ceremonial sword with him, but only an imitation decorative one would be visible.

If the beliefs of the Sikh community deserve consideration so do those of a man like David Packer.  Because David Packer refused to guard the abortuary where unborn babies are killed daily, his talents as a brave police officer, decorated for saving a life, are wasted.  He is now part of the group who are assigned duties at the Resource Centre in Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters.  Some are there because of impaired driving charges, possession of heroin, or health problems, physical or mental.  Some are not even allowed to carry a gun.

David Packer is now handling complaints of lost wallets, broken windows, stolen articles, making out reports for insurance and statistical purposes.  He is not even allowed to go out on the street for follow-up where there is a suspect.

David Packer is part of a ‘minority’ group who respect life at any cost, even if the cost to himself is the greatest.  We feel that it is time for the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department to restore David Packer to his former duties with the understanding that he does not have to go against his religious beliefs just as the Sikhs do not have to go against theirs.