Lt. Manmeet Colon, a 37-year-old Indian-origin Sikh woman officer has assumed charge as the assistant police chief in the US state of Connecticut, becoming the department’s first-ever second-in-command of Asian descent.
Colon, a 15-year New Haven Police Department (NHPD) veteran, was sworn in as the city’s third assistant police chief in a ceremony on Friday, the New Haven Independent newspaper reported.
The ceremony marked “another glass ceiling being broken,” Board of Police Commissioners Chair Evelise Ribeiro said, noting that Colon, a native of Mumbai, is the department’s second-ever female assistant chief of colour and its first Indian assistant chief, the report said.
Colon thanked her colleagues, family and friends in Friday’s ceremony and said, “With great power comes great responsibility and ever greater accountability.” Colon immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 11 years old and joined the force a decade and a half ago, the report said.
She joins fellow assistant chiefs David Zannelli and Bertram Ettienne in what Ribeiro described as the “dream team” that Police Chief Karl Jacobson has surrounded himself with.
According to the report, Colon has worked in patrol, as a detective in the special victims unit, as a sergeant supervising the robbery and burglary unit, as a lieutenant and district manager, and most recently as the head of the Internal Affairs division.
Describing Colon, Police Chief Jacobson said, “She was tough, but she was also very kind.” “I come from a Sikh family. I speak Punjabi. I am very proud of my heritage,” Colon was quoted as saying earlier this month by the newspaper.
“More important is the mission and the values of the department. To me, it is all about being fair and impartial. My background, my morals, my family values and traditions…I feel like I bring a lot to the table,” Colon said, adding, “I am glad there is a space for me at the table.” Colon’s brother Prabhjyot Singh and her older daughter Milan pinned the new assistant chief badge on Colon’s uniform. Mayor Justin Elicker then administered the oath of office, the report said.
The new assistant police chief urged her colleagues to remind themselves, especially on bad days, “of how privileged you are to be part of such a rewarding and strong profession.” Colon graduated from the police academy in December 2008 and studied criminal justice at the University of New Haven.