By Shobana Muratee
Updated Oct 4, 2019
HOUSTON, October 2, 2019 – The image of a young boy being hugged by a Sikh police officer in a blue turban will forever be etched in the minds of thousands. The public have been following the story of Sandeep Dhaliwal, the Harris County Sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down during a traffic stop last week.
Tens of thousands of people across Texas turned out to pay their respects at a final farewell to Deputy Dhaliwal, who was described as “a trailblazer” for being the first Sikh deputy in his agency. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said about Dhaliwal, “He wore the turban, he represented his community with integrity, respect and pride.” The outpour of the community was a testament to what he was described as “kind,” “caring,” and “a great friend of the community.” Sheriff Gonzalez described Dhaliwal, a father of three, as “a man of dedication, faith, love, and compassion.”
Houston’s TV channels provided live coverage of the final farewell. Members of the national Sikh community arrived from all over the country and have asked people attending to wear navy blue. Law enforcement personnel from the U.S. and Canada attended a law enforcement ceremony, and a Sikh religious ceremony was held at the Berry Center in Cypress, KTRK reported. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the nation’s first Sikh state’s attorney general, said Dhaliwal “inspired an entire generation of Sikhs to public service,” KTRK reported. As part of the traditional Sikh funeral was the singing sacred hymns by the priests. After the service, members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office bid farewell to Dhaliwal with full honors and a 21-gun salute.
Voice of Asia extensively covered the pioneering Deputy when he was made a sheriff deputy.
Deputy Dhaliwal had been in law enforcement for 10 years. Elders said he was pious man who regularly attended religious services at the Sikh National Center with his family.
Deputy Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children. The Indian American community in Houston is holding a Prayer Vigil for Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal at India House on Friday, October 4th between 7 pm to 8 pm.