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New York City Police Detective Squad of South Asian Heritage

NYPD first South Asian Lt. Commander Shamsul

NYPD first South Asian Lt. Commander Shamsul Lieutenant Shamsul Haque (File Photo)

NYC (Channel TT Desk): Lieutenant Shamsul Haque will make history by becoming the first South Asian to be Lieutenant Commander Detective Squad in the NYPD. The promotional ceremony will take place on Friday, January 29, 2021 in NYPD’s Police Academy in Queens, New York.

Lieutenant Haque joined the NYPD in January 2004 when only a handful of Bangladeshi were employed as police officers in America. After working on the Upper East side as a police officer, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2010 and was assigned to a precinct in the South Bronx. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2014 and joined the NYPD's elite Internal Affairs Force Investigation Group where he has been working since then.

He makes history by being the 1st Lieutenant Commander Detective Squad of South Asian heritage. Lieutenant Haque said “although I may be the 1st one, I hope to see a lot more of Bangladeshi Americans to rise up the rank within law enforcement.”

His remarkable journey began when he dropped out of middle school in Bangladesh and moved to the United States in 1991. Upon arrival, he worked several odd jobs including being a bus-boy, deli man and manager. Seeing no prosperous future- determined to change his life- he studied on his own and received High School Equivalency Diploma in 1997. Subsequently, he received AAS from LaGuardia College and BBA from Baruch College.

While studying at Baruch College, he served as the Chairperson of University Student and CUNY Trustee. In these capacities, he vehemently fought against CUNY tuition hikes on behalf of more than 300,000 students.

Then, Lieutenant Haque continued to pursue higher education. He graduated from Columbia University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with a Master in Public Administration.

When terrorists attacked New York City on September 11, 2001, Lieutenant Haque felt it was an attack on humanity. He said, “I am a proud Muslim and Bangladeshi American. There are more than a billion peace loving Muslims in the world. A few terrorists, who claimed to be Muslims, can’t represent the entire Muslim polulaitons in the world.” Lieutenant Haque wanted to change the perception of Muslims in America and that’s why he joined the police department.

As he continued to work in the NYPD, he realised the need for Bangladeshi Ameicans to join law enforcement in greater numbers. He called upon several other Bangladeshi American officers and co-founded a fraternal organization named Bangladeshi American Police Association (NYPD BAPA), where he eventually served as the president. The organization has helped recruit hundreds of Bangladeshis to the NYPD. Currently, there are about 400 police officers, detectives, sergeants, 3 lieutenants and 3 captains. In addition, there are more than 1000 traffic agents employed by the NYPD.

Upon learning the news of his promotion, Captain Karam Chowdhury, the current president of BAPA, congratulated Lieutenant Haque. He said, “it is a testament that hard work and dedication pays dividends.” Lieutenant Haque is not the only member of his family to serve in the NYPD. His younger brother, Badrul Haque, is a police officer in the Anti-Terrorism Task Force within the NYPD’s transit system.

Lieutenant Haque was born in a small village in Bagha, Golapganj, Sylhet. His father’s is (late) Abdul Musabbir and mother (late) Nurun Nessa. Two of his brothers (Abdul Haque and Nazrul Haque were senior teachers in Abdul Ahad High School and Narafig High Schools respectively. Lieutenant Haque lives with his wife, Rubina Haque, and two boys in Queens, New York. All of his brothers and sisters reside in New York State.