Back then there were just 200 officers of Asian American descent in the Department. Today there are 2,100, comprising 6 percent of the force. Those numbers are expected to continue to grow as Asian Americans make up 9 percent of the graduates from the police academy.
With the increased presence, has come a high price. In the last few weeks, Asian American officers have been involved in several high profile incidents. First and foremost was the murder of Detective Wenjian Liu. Before that, rookie Officer Peter Liang accidentally shot and killed an unarmed man, Akai Gurley , in a Brooklyn housing project.
Those Asian Americans who first integrated the Department also paid a price.
“Some people refused to be arrested by me, even when I showed them the badge,” said Thomas N. Ong, who retired from the Department in 1999 as a detective. “They’d say things like, ‘You’re a cop? There are Chinese cops? I didn’t know Chinese were cops.’ ”
While the numbers are larger, Asian Americans are still underrepresented. You can read about that and other issues concerning AAPI police officers in the New York Times.