Indian-American Captain Pratima Bhullar Maldonado has become the highest-ranking South Asian in the New York Police Department (NYPD), a position she was promoted to last month.
Maldonado runs the 102nd Police Precinct in South Richmond Hill — home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the US — and is now the NYPD’s first female South Asian captain, CBS News reported.
The mother of four lived in Punjab until she was nine before moving to Queens.
“It feels like coming home. I spent more than 25 years of my life in this precinct when I was growing up,” Maldonado said, adding that her new role will help with community policing.
The top-ranking cop told CBS News that it wasn’t easy climbing the ranks.
“Getting out there and working, and protecting people that are cursing you out sometimes and not appreciating what you’re doing, but you still got to do what you got to do,” Maldonado said.
“It’s a big responsibility. I want to be a better and positive example, not only for my community, for other females, kids that see us every day. Because that would change their perspective of how they view law enforcement,” she said.
According to the NYPD, of the Department’s 33,787 members, 10.5 per cent are Asian.
“I feel extremely proud. It’s good to show other up and coming Asian, South Asian females that if you work hard enough you too can climb the ladder of success,” Maldonado told CBS News.
Remembering her father, Maldonado said he drove a taxi in the US for many years to support the family.
“He was a hard worker. He passed away in 2006, before I became a cop. He would have been so proud right now,” she said.
Earlier this year, Lt Manmeet Colon, a 37-year-old Indian-origin Sikh woman officer, assumed charge as the assistant police chief in the state of Connecticut, becoming the department’s first-ever second-in-command of Asian descent.