PEEL, Southern Ontario – Defying misconceptions about Muslim women, Yusra Syed, a former University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) student, has become the first Peel police prisoner escort officer to don hijab.
“I’m a prisoner escort officer. I work at Davis Court in Brampton and I escort prisoners to and from prison to the courthouse and from holding facility to the courtroom,” Syed told Insuga.com.
The young Muslim said she became fascinated with policing during her post-secondary years.
Pursing her life dream, she beat out a wealth of competitors to become a prisoner escort officer (PEO) with one of the country’s largest police forces.
Although Syed has only been in her current position for about three months, she’s worked in security positions at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre and Garda Security that have helped prepare her for the world of the law enforcement.
“It’s been really good. We’re training right now and I’m paired with experienced training officers. It’s a great team environment. I’m enjoying the process and learning and doing the job,” she said.
Taking her new position, Syed hopes to change all the misperceptions about her faith.
“I would hope I would have a positive impact. I think it’s a good thing to have the Peel community represented. If you see someone who looks similar to you, it might encourage you to follow your dreams,” she said.
“Around the time that I decided that this is route I wanted to take, I saw an article about a woman who wore a headscarf in another police force and it motivated me.”
She is fully encouraged by the support she has received so far from the community.
“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, I get stopped in the hall. Everyone is very encouraging and supportive,” she added.
“I’m very happy to be working here and spend my time here. I think, if anyone else wants to join this field, they should. They shouldn’t let anything hold them back.”