Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, CanadaiStock

Police in Vancouver, British Columbia announced they are modifying their policy to allow Jewish officers to wear kippahs.

The move came after B’nai Brith Canada contacted the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to request that a policy change take place in order to respect the religious observances of Jewish officers, and so that observant Jews could have the opportunity to join the force.

In response to B’nai Brith’s recommendation, Drazen Manojlovic, the VPD’s Director – Planning, Research and Audit Section, said the department will modify its equity, diversity, and inclusion policies to incorporate kippahs.

“We do not have policy that specifically permits the Jewish kippah and your enquiry helps identify this is as a gap in our policy,” Manojlovic said. “To my knowledge, a Jewish member has not brought this to our attention but we are aware of it now. Coincidentally, we are doing a review of our policies [on] Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and we will make the inclusion of the kippah in our policy.”

B’nai Brith praised the VPD for its change in policy.

“The VPD has been a leader in Canada in promoting a diverse work force,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said. “Its uniform regulations allow candidates who wear the Sikh turban and the Muslim hijab to be hired as police officers. However, B’nai Brith’s inquiry revealed that there was a gap in the VPD’s policy with no specific mention that wearing a kippah was allowed. This is commendable recognition on the VPD’s part.”

Marvin Rotrand, national director of the B’nai Brith League for Human Rights, added: “No one should have to choose between a career in policing and following the precepts of their faith.”

“Observant Jews serve with distinction in many police departments in the United States,” Rotrand said. “We appreciate the VPD’s rapid response in correcting this gap in its policy. It sends positive signals to potential Jewish candidates that they are welcome.”