In a stupendous feat, Captain Pratima Bhullar Maldonado, a police officer hailing from Punjab, has broken barriers and made her name as the highest-ranking South Asian woman in the New York Police Department (NYPD). With her recent promotion to the honorary rank of Captain, Maldonado now leads the 102nd Police Precinct in South Richmond Hill, Queens.
The auspicious promotion to captain happened last month, marking a pivotal moment for Maldonado and his illustrious career. A mother of four, Maldonado was born in Punjab and spent her formative years there before beginning a new chapter in her life in the vibrant borough of Queens, New York.
Returning to the precinct that encapsulates her childhood memories, Maldonado expressed a deep sense of familiarity and belonging. “It feels like coming home. I spent more than 25 years of my life in this precinct when I was growing up,” she shared, basking in the nostalgia of her roots.
South Richmond Hill, the locale she proudly serves, stands as a bastion of the vibrant Sikh community, boasting one of the largest populations in the United States. Paying a visit to the gurdwara, Maldonado reveled in the profound connection between her past and present. “Going to the same Gurdwara that I did as a child, and now as a captain, I love it,” she remarked, cherishing the unique bond.
Maldonado envisions her new role as a catalyst for strengthened community policing. With her firsthand experience of encountering language barriers and individuals with limited English proficiency, she recognizes the significance of bridging these gaps. “There are language barriers, people who can’t speak the language, English is a second language. I’ve seen that firsthand growing up here,” she articulated, emphasizing her commitment to fostering effective communication and understanding within the diverse communities she serves.
Undeniably, the journey leading to Maldonado’s historic achievement was no easy feat. Reflecting on the challenges she has encountered, Maldonado shared, “Getting out there and working, and protecting people that are cursing you out sometimes and not appreciating what you’re doing, but you still got to do what you got to do.” Her resilience and unwavering dedication have propelled her to new heights, serving as an inspiration to others.
Shouldering the weight of her responsibility, Maldonado aspires to be an exemplar of positive change, not only for her community but also for aspiring female law enforcement officers and the younger generation. “It’s a big responsibility. I want to be a better and positive example, not only for my community, for other females, kids that see us every day. Because that would change their perspective of how they view law enforcement,” she passionately expressed.
Amidst the proud ranks of the NYPD, Maldonado represents a significant milestone for the Asian community, which comprises 10.5 percent of the department’s 33,787 members. “I feel extremely proud. It’s good to show other up and coming Asian, South Asian females that if you work hard enough you too can climb the ladder of success,” Maldonado proclaimed, reinforcing the notion that perseverance paves the way for achievement.
During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in New York City, Maldonado paid tribute to his late father, a taxi driver who supported his family through his unwavering work ethic. Reflecting on his absence, she shared, “My dad actually used to drive a taxi for many years. He supported us. He was hardworking. He passed away in 2006 before I became a police officer. He is very proud now.” Would.
Captain Pratima Bhullar Maldonado’s extraordinary journey serves as an inspiration, breaks down barriers, and empowers generations to come with a testament to the indomitable spirit and resilience that lead them to their dreams. Their historic achievement stands as a beacon of progress, symbolizing ongoing change within law enforcement and the search for a more inclusive society.