Members of Edmonton's Muslim community say changes to the Edmonton police uniform will help build trust and reflect Edmonton's growing diversity.
This week, EPS announced it had commissioned a police-issued hijab that lays flat on the face and tears away if someone pulls on it, giving Muslim women on the force the option of wearing the traditional headscarf while on duty.
Sherif El Sayad is the Imam at Rashid Mosque in northeast Edmonton. He helped work with EPS to design the new hijab.
He said the hijab is a great step toward making Edmonton a more inclusive city.
"It will create more chances and opportunities for Muslim girls, for Muslim ladies to be part of the … police, maybe tomorrow the military, maybe afterward many other jobs."
“It's going to be a big motivation to many of the girls to be part of the police and to help that community,” he added.
Haneen Othman, 15, is also excited about the new uniform option. As a teen who wears a traditional Islamic headscarf, she said there are limitations to what kind of career she can pursue.
"I feel like it's really hard for us to follow our dreams."
But now she is excited to have the choice to work as an Edmonton police officer.
"As far as career choices go, I have like more to explore, less restrictions ... not just me, but like, the entire Muslim community."
EPS does not currently have any members or applicants requesting to wear the headscarves, but says the new police-issued hijab is a proactive measure to encourage diversity.