New York, NY – The Bangladeshi American Police Association (BAPA) held its third Annual Dinner on Friday, November 17, in Jackson Heights, Queens. The seven honorees of the evening were Chief Thomas Chan, Man of the Year, Chief Diana Pizzuti, Woman of the Year, Detective Miosotis Familia, Heroism Award, Posthumously, Community Service Award, Imam Kahlid Latif, Civilian of the Year, Mohammad M. Rahman, Cop of the Year, Thaher Ahmed, and Cop of the Year, Atik Hossain.
Since its inception in 2015, BAPA has provided an outlet for the collective voice of the nation’s Bangladeshi American Law Enforcement Officers. Through BAPA, officers identify priority issues and deal collectively. Its mission is to foster relationships through camaraderie among Law Enforcement Officers of Bangladeshi Heritage. BAPA’s focus is on the recruitment of more Bangladeshi Americans into Law Enforcement, offering assistance in attaining professional goals, and taking initiatives that bridge the gap between Law Enforcement and the Bangladeshi American Community.
Highlights of the evening included the singing of the Bangladeshi National Anthem, beautifully sung by Anup Barua, followed by a moment of silence for fallen officers, including Detective Familia, whose children were in attendance. A video was also shown displaying the many facets of Bangladesh, including rivers, the ocean, animals, people in traditional dress, worshippers and deities.
BAPA President Shamsul Haque spoke of the term “American Dream,” coined in 1931, saying that “most of our members born in Bangladesh are living their dream through the NYPD.” He thanked the NYPD, and others, as well as CWA Local 1182, whose President, Syed Rahim, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was present. Haque cited Rahim as one of those whose story of success in his career was inspiring to others. Rahim had published a message in the evening’s catalogue that read: “As head of a union that works hand-in-hand with the NYPD, I know what a tremendously important job they do every day, and how important it is to know their concerns and issues, and to honor and support them. The 3,000 members of the CWA Local 1182 are Traffic Enforcement and Sanitation Agents, and a significant number of them are people of Bangladeshi heritage.”
Chief Thomas Chan accepted his award for Man of the Year, saying that BAPA reminded him of how “a handful” of Asian-American law enforcement officers had joined together in the 1980’s, and had also grown exponentially. He stressed, “The opportunity in the NYPD to rise and meet your goals is always there.” Chief Pizzuti was the keynote speaker, congratulating BAPA for “being officially recognized as a fraternal organization this summer.” She spoke of the importance of seizing opportunities, and how she and Chief Chan had not “looked like all the other Commanding Officers” when they began, “like you.” “Try to be a visionary while you are out there,” she said. Detective Familia’s children accepted her award for Heroism, Posthumously. Familia was shot and killed in July. Her daughter thanked BAPA for “helping me remember my mother as a hero, always.”
BAPA’s motto is “Cherish Diversity, Seek Unity, Protect Life.”