A portion of a Houston tollway was renamed after late Indian-American police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. The 42-year-old cop was the first Sikh sheriff’s deputy in Harris county and made national headlines after becoming the first law enforcement officer to be allowed to grow a beard and wearing a turban for the job.
He was gunned down in September last year by a driver identified as Robert Solis while on duty during a traffic stop. Presently, while Solis sits in the Harris County Jail charged with capital murder, the Harris County Toll Road Authority put up the sign ‘HCSO Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Tollway’ near Texas 249 in memory of the late officer. A special ceremony also took place at the Gurudwara Sikh National Centre on the occasion. Dhaliwal was scheduled to be promoted to a supervisor role last year and his sudden death resonated across the US and the world. His death sparked a huge change within the sheriff’s department including the change in policies by the law enforcement agencies to include more members of the Sikh faith. The Houston Police Department and the county’s eight constables also changed policies to allow officers on duty to wear turbans and carry religious items. The sheriff’s office now has two Sikh deputies and earlier in January, Precinct 1 became the first local agency to swear-in a turban clad deputy constable.
The bill to rename west Harris County post office to ‘Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office’ was also introduced last month by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher which got passed unanimously. The tributes to his memory continue with the recent renaming of a section of Beltway 8 tollway between Texas 249 and US 290.