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Shamsul Haque makes history by becoming first Bangladeshi-American Lt Commander in NYPD

DIGEST-BD-03-02-2021

Bangladesh-origin American Shamsul Haque has been promoted to the rank of Lt Commander in the Detective Squad of New York Police Department (NYPD), a first for any Bangladeshi in the NYPD.

He received the promotion at a ceremony at NYPD's Police Academy in Queens, New York on January 29, according to media reports.

Shamsul is also the first South Asian to achieve the rank in NYPD.

In a tweet, Bangladeshi American Police Association (Bapa) congratulated Shamsul, also the co-founder and former president of the association.

"It is a testament that hard work pays dividends," it said.

Born in Bagha village of Golapganj in Sylhet, the journey of Shamsul Haque began when he dropped out of middle school in Bangladesh and moved to the United States in 1991, according to Channel TT, a New York-based online TV channel.

Upon arrival, he worked various odd jobs, such as a busboy, deliveryman, and manager, amongst others. 

Determined to change his life, Shamsul continued his studies and received a High School Equivalency Diploma in 1997. He also 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. He fought against CUNY tuition hikes on behalf of more than 300,000 students.

He graduated from Columbia University with a Master's in Public Administration.

On September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked New York City, Shamsul 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 populations in the world."

He wanted to change the perception of Muslims in America and that was why he joined the police department.

Shamsul joined the NYPD in January 2004 when only a handful of Bangladeshis were employed as police officers in the United States.

After working on the Upper Eastside as a police officer, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2010 and 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.

During his work in the NYPD, he realized the need for Bangladeshi-Americans to join law enforcement in large numbers. 

He called upon several other Bangladeshi-American officers and co-founded a fraternal organization named Bapa. 

His younger brother, Badrul Haque, is a police officer in the Anti-Terrorism Task Force within the NYPD's transit system.

Shamsul lives with his wife Rubina Haque and two of their sons in Queens.