Watch CBS News

Pratima Bhullar Maldonado is NYPD's first female South Asian captain

Meet the NYPD's first South Asian female captain
Meet the NYPD's first South Asian female captain 02:16

NEW YORK -- Capt. Pratima Bhullar Maldonado runs the 102nd Police Precinct in South Richmond Hill, Queens

"It feels like coming home. I spent more than 25 years of my life in this precinct when I was growing up," Maldonado said.

South Richmond Hill is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the country.

"Going to the same temple that I did as a child, and now as a captain, I love it," Maldonado said as she visited the temple. 

The mother of four was born in Punjab, India, and lived there until she was 9 before moving to Queens.

She told CBS2 her new role will help with community policing.

"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 said.

Maldonado is the highest-ranking South Asian woman in the NYPD -- a position she was promoted to last month. But it wasn't easy climbing the ranks.

"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," Maldonado said. 

But that never stopped her.

"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 added.

According to the NYPD, of the department's 33,787 members, 10.5% are Asian.

"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 said.

As New York City celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Maldonado reflected on her late father. 

"My dad actually drove a taxi for many years. He supported us. He was a hard worker. He passed away in 2006, before I became a cop. He would have been so proud right now," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.