Captain Pratima Bhullar Maldonado, a police officer of Indian descent, has become the highest-ranking South Asian woman in the New York Police Department, a position to which she was recently promoted.
She runs the 102nd Police Precinct in South Richmond Hill, Queens. She was promoted to the rank of captain last month, CBS News reported Monday.
The mother of four was born in Punjab and lived there until she was 9 before moving to Queens in New York.
“It feels like coming home. I spent more than 25 years of my life in this district growing up,” said Ms. Maldonado.
South Richmond Hill is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the country.
“Going to the same Gurdwara I did as a kid, and now as a captain, I love it,” she said while visiting the Gurdwara.
She told CBS 2 that her new role will help with community policing.
“There are language barriers, people who don’t speak the language, English is a second language. I experienced that up close here growing up,” she said.
Ms. Maldonado is the highest-ranking South Asian woman in the NYPD — a position she was promoted to last month. But it wasn’t easy to move up the ranks, the report said.
“Go out and work, and protect people who sometimes curse you and don’t appreciate what you do, but you still have to do what you have to do,” she said.
“It’s a big responsibility. I want to be a better and positive example not only for my community, but for other women, children who see us every day. Because that would change their view of law enforcement,” she added.
According to the NYPD, of the chapter’s 33,787 members, 10.5 percent are Asian.
“I’m extremely proud. It’s good to show other emerging Asian, South Asian women that if you work hard enough, you too can climb the ladder of success,” Ms. Maldonado said.
As New York City celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Ms. Maldonado thought back to her late father.
“My dad drove a taxi for years. He supported us. He was a hard worker. He died in 2006 before I became a cop. He would have been so proud now,” she said.
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