West Harris County Post Office renamed after HCSO MP Sandeep Dhaliwal died

A U.S. post office in west Houston has been renamed Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, in honor of the Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy who was murdered during a traffic stop in September 2019.

Houston’s Sikh community, local elected officials and law enforcement officials gathered in a ceremony Tuesday at the 315 Addicks-Howell Road Post Office to dedicate the post office “Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office “.

Dhaliwal, 42, was a beloved sheriff’s deputy who gained national notoriety after pressuring his bosses to allow him to wear his articles of faith – including the traditional facial hair and turban common to practicing Sikhs – while on duty.

Dhaliwal’s faith, Sikhism, is a monotheistic religion that originated in India. Practicing Sikhs wear a turban and five articles of faith: uncut hair, a wooden comb, an iron bracelet, an iron dagger, and a Kachera, or type of undergarment.

This may conflict with the strict dress codes of many law enforcement agencies and uniform policies which frequently prohibit officers from displaying tattoos, growing beards, and wearing certain jewelry or the like. accessories.

Dhaliwal joined the sheriff’s department after a scandal in which an MP detained a local Sikh family for refusing to hand over their ceremonial knives, recalled Ward 2 commissioner Adrian Garcia, who hired Dhaliwal when he was sheriff. . After the scandal, Dhaliwal sold his trucking business and joined the department, working first as a jailer and then as a patrol assistant.

He became a familiar face at events held throughout the community where he worked and thousands of Houston mourners witnessed his death.

After Dhaliwal’s death, several other law enforcement agencies, including the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Constable’s Office, also changed their policies to allow Sikhs to wear clothing and other items important to their faith, generally prohibited by strict uniform policies.

In a press release, U.S. Representative Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, said Dhaliwal “represents the best” of Houston and that she is “honored” to help commemorate her life. Fletcher sponsored legislation to change the name of the post office in honor of the slain MP. The bill was enacted last year.

The name change follows other honors for Dhaliwal: his name was inscribed on the Texas Peace Officers Memorial, the Harris County Toll Road Authority renamed part of Beltway 8 in his honor, and the members of the Copperbrook HOA in Northwest Houston have created a memorial dedicated to the Member of Parliament.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the post office would serve as a permanent reminder of Dhaliwal’s “lasting contributions” to a “committed public servant who has touched countless lives.”

“He was a true hero who inspired everyone to love their neighbors,” Gonzalez said.

Police Station 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia – who hired Dhaliwal when he was sheriff – said he hoped the post office’s new name would inspire other Harris County residents to learn more about Dhaliwal.

“Anyone who has met Dep. Sandeep Dhaliwal was a better person to have known him, ”he said. “I am grateful that visitors to the newly renamed post office will see his name and be encouraged to find out how special he was.”

Relatives of Dhaliwal and Sikhs in the Houston area said Tuesday’s dedication was a “deeply meaningful” gesture in honor of the slain MP.

“Since my son was taken from our family in a senseless act of violence, we have received a wave of support and love from the great community of Houston,” said Pyara Singh Dhaliwal, Sandeep’s father. . “We are so grateful and honored that Sandeep is being commemorated in this way – forever a part of the city he served faithfully both in uniform and outside.”

Other representatives of the Sikh community said that Dhaliwal’s work in the sheriff’s office reflects a deeper legacy of acceptance and kindness.

“MP Dhaliwal’s legacy is not only his service to the city of Houston, but also his life example,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala of the Sikh Coalition. “Today we remember that diversity and inclusion make all of our communities and our country stronger.”

Bobby Singh, regional director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that Dhaliwal “did not aim to be a pioneer,” but “simply approached life with a caring heart, a generous mind and a warmth that brought people together. . “

“Our community was forever changed by his death, but this building will forever serve as recognition of his life,” he continued. “He lived the real American and Houstonian life.”

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