Columbus police won’t allow officers to wear headscarves

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus police have decided to continue its ban on Muslim headscarves for officers after a Somali-American recruit left the police academy over the issue.

Deputy Chief Michael Woods tells The Columbus Dispatch that the policy won’t be changed because officers need to be able to interact with the community without any preconceived notions. He said the goal is to “display neutrality in our uniform.”

Columbus’ mayor asked the police department to re-examine the policy after a 29-year-old Muslim woman, Ismahan Isse, said she had left the academy in March because she wasn’t allowed to wear her headscarf, called a hijab.

An attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ohio chapter says he is “baffled and very disappointed” by the department’s decision.