PASSAIC, NJ (TIP): It was history in the making when New Jersey’s first Hindu Lieutenant Piyush Patel was administered the oath of office by Mayor Blanco of Passaic in a colorful ceremony on Dec. 19, 2012. The ceremony was attended by large number of people from his community, local residents, friends and family members. Piyush Patel is first generation Hindu American born to immigrant parents from Gujarat, India.
He has been brought up and raised in Passaic and has done his schooling in Passaic Schools. Piyush Patel is the first Indian-American and the first Hindu in the New Jersey Police force. He joined Passaic Police Dept. in 1998 as first South Asian and first Indian-American. Now he is the first South Asian Lieutenant in the Passaic Police Department. Lt. Patel’s story of hardships to reach this level is an inspiration for the younger generation of the community.
If one stands for his rights no one can stop him from being successful in life. Despite clearing the exam with #2 ranking for the post of Sgt. in 2003, he got this rank in 2006 only after a prolonged battle against the township in the Courts on the grounds of racial discrimination. Somehow, Piyush Patel got his rank, back pay and seniority after more than 2 years of emotional, mental, physical and financial struggles. Again, Piyush Patel had to struggle to get his Lieutenant’s rank. He passed the exam with # 2 ranking in 2009.
Since 2011 his rank was #1 because the #1 rank Sgt. Pellot was promoted Lieutenant in 2011. Patel’s father Mr. Mahesh Patel a known community leader stood firm along with his son in his struggle against the race based politics in Passaic. Finally, the sane voice of the Indian community, local residents, friends and the entire family’s support prevailed over the administration and Piyush Patel got his rank of Lieutenant.
We sincerely thank everyone on behalf of Sgt. Piyush Patel, his father Mr. Mahesh Patel, his entire family, friends and supporters for their valuable support for his merit based promotion to Lieutenant’s position in Passaic Police Department. This is a small step collectively taken by the community to eradicate the culture of Racism in the City Halls of New Jersey. Our job is not yet finished; we should be looking for complete equality and religious freedom in the state of New Jersey.