We salute the Vancouver Police Department for its decision last week to modify its uniform regulations to allow Jewish officers to wear kippahs on the job. While current regulations specifically authorize the hiring of candidates who wear the Sikh turban and Muslim hijab as police officers, no such accommodation was listed for the kippah.
Interestingly, over the years, we have reported on similar results here in the United States, but they typically were preceded by some epic legislative or legal battle. So we viewed the change in Vancouver with some wistfulness in that it seems to have come about without serious resistance after B’nai Brith Canada recommended allowing the yarmulkes to the Vancouver PD.
Indeed, we were taken with the matter of fact way Drazen Manolovic, a senior Vancouver PD official, responded to B’nai Brith Canada’s bringing the matter to his agency’s attention:
We do not have a policy that specifically permits the Jewish kippah and your enquiry helps identify this is a gap in or policy. 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.
We also found refreshing B’nai Brith Canada’s appreciation of the significance of a failure to specifically list kippahs as warranting accommodation – without having been pushed by a potential applicant. Sadly, this is not the kind of sensitivity we have always found present in our dealings with Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith here in the United States.