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NYPD to break from policy, will allow beards and turbans

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NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill speaks to new graduates of the Police Academy during their graduation ceremony in New York Wednesday. The NYPD is now allowing Sikh officers to wear turbans in place of the traditional police cap and grow beards up to a half-inch long for religious reasons. O'Neill announced the new rules following the graduation ceremony. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The New York Police Department has decided to deviate from their fairly strict dress code and allow male officers the option to grow their beards up to a half-inch long for "religious reasons." They also have announced they will allow Sikh officers to wear turbans instead of the traditional police hat.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill made the announcement Wednesday after a ceremony for new police recruits. Any officer wishing to take advantage of the new policy will have to first get approval from management. Once approved, Sikhs requesting to wear turbans in place of the standard police cap may only wear turbans that are navy blue and have the NYPD logo attached.

Turbans are treated as sacred in the Sikh religion, and Sikh males usually grow beards in accordance with the religion.

Previous policy stated that turbans had to fit underneath the designated NYPD police hat and beards were prohibited because they interfered with gas masks.

There are around 160 Sikh officers serving in the NYPD force.

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