HACKENSACK — The city swore in two new police officers Tuesday, including the department’s first Muslim member.
Mohammad Sheikh, 24, joins the department after four years in Paterson, where he was among 125 officers laid off last April.
Both officers said they hoped to add to the department’s diversity. Sheikh, who speaks Arabic and was born in Palestine, said he wanted to serve as a liaison between the city and its Muslim population.
“Ever since Sept. 11, the stereotype about Muslim Americans has been very bad,” Sheikh said. “I wanted to challenge that stereotype. This is one way of giving back to the community.”
Official counts of the number of Muslim officers in Bergen County are not available, but Sheikh and police Capt. Tomas Padilla, the acting officer in charge of the department, said they know of one in Bergenfield and one in the county Sheriff’s Department.