PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In New Jersey, the first Sikh attorney general in United States history is now 80 days into the job.
As the first Sikh to become a state attorney general in America, Gurbir Grewal knows people are watching him.
“I sort of wear my religion openly…I think when you see someone like me doing this job, I think it tells people there are things going right in this state, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, that if you’re ready to work hard you can succeed and that’s the American dream right,” said Grewal.
Selected by Governor Phil Murphy, Grewal is 80 days into office and already grabbing headlines for suing the Trump administration over putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
“We’ve worked so hard in this state and law enforcement has worked so hard in this state to build trust, to encourage minority communities to get out of the shadows, immigrant communities to get out of the shadows, to report crime and be comfortable reporting crime, we don’t want to take a step back,” Grewal said.
In fact, Grewal is already taking two new steps to build trust between police and minority communities.
First, he issued several directives to increase police transparency, including mandatory drug testing for cops and requiring body camera footage be released within 20 days of incidents.
This week he announced he wants to see at least 80 community policing events throughout the state by the end of the year.
“We’ll invite the governor and other elected officials to attend these to talk about important issues before crisis, to build trust, to increase transparency and to avoid the type of crisis we are seeing in other parts of the country,” said Grewal.
Grewal says he doesn’t mind having all eyes on him but he plans to make that happen for the right reasons.
“Because of the uniqueness of being the first in anything that there is more pressure on me to succeed because my successes will be magnified and my failures will be magnified. But I take that as a challenge,” he says.