SEA GIRT—(SBN)—New Jersey State Police cadets got a training class to learn how to interact with the Sikh American community this week. Volunteer trainers from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, known as SALDEF, explained Sikh culture and religious practices to 170 recruits at the State Police training center in Sea Girt as part of the organization’s Law Enforcement Partnership Program or LEPP. The program helps dispel misconceptions about the Sikh community and allows police officers to ask questions interact with members of the minority community, whose dress includes turbans and beards, which are often regarded.
You can hear our complete interview with SALDEF Trainer Kiran Kaur in the audio player below.
One of the volunteer trainers, Kiran Kaur of Princeton, says the Law Enforcement Partnership Program helps dispel misconceptions about the Sikh community and allows police officers to interact with members of the minority community, whose religious practices and dress includes wearing turbans and beards, which are often regarded with suspicion.
“The attendees were very engaged, and for a number of the recruits, it was the first time they were exposed to the Sikh religion,” Kaur said. “The feedback from the group was very positive and created a critical opportunity with law enforcement for an open and constructive dialogue.”
“This was a very interesting presentation. I learned a lot and the material kept me interested,” was feedback from one of the cadets. “I honestly never heard of Sikhism until today.”
The LEPP program was started in 1999 to increase awareness about Sikhs to law enforcement officers and security personnel across the country and develop strong relationships between them and their local Sikh American sangats. SALDEF says it has trained more than 100,000 police officers and others.
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for StateBroadcastNews.com. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. He refocused on multimedia journalism and podcast production after a long career in corporate branded journalism and public relations.
He has won numerous awards for his audio and video news reporting from the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced a wide range of audio and video podcasts in his other role as managing partner of State Broadcast News’s parent, The Lubetkin Media Companies.
Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional.
In March 2021, he was elected to the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and in July 2021 he was named secretary of the chapter. In August 2021, he was honored by SPJ with one of the organization’s 2021 Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Awards, given to regular members of an SPJ chapter who go above and beyond in serving their chapter.
Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996.
Steve also has reported on-camera and produces virtual conferences for NJSpotlightNews.org, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC.
From May-November 2019, he produced and reported a weekly podcast, The CRE News Hour, a news and features program focusing on the commercial real estate industry.
From 2014 to 2019 he was New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com and filled in covering Chicago/Midwest and Atlanta.
Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies.
Earlier in his career, Steve reported on rock music at the Jersey Shore for the Asbury Park Press, and was a broadcast news anchor and production engineer for WJLK-AM & FM, then owned by the Press. He also worked as a general assignment reporter for the Red Bank Register, Shrewsbury, NJ.
You can email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.