Last week, Atlanta Police Officer Rajwant Dhaliwal (no relation) attended the memorial service of fallen Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal who was killed while conducting a traffic stop and was considered a trailblazer in the Sikh community. Officer Dhaliwal has served in the Atlanta Police Department for 18 years and is the only officer on the force that practices Sikhism.
APD Officer Dhaliwal got a chance to meet fallen Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal’s daughter and they took a selfie. “I met her at the Sikh Temple and offered her the APD Badge Pin and told her that I too was a Dhaliwal, her face lit up with a big smile. Even on the worst day of her life I managed to get the biggest smile from her,” said APD Officer Dhaliwal.
Deputy Dhaliwal was the first Sikh sheriff’s deputy in Harris County in Houston, Texas and was the first law enforcement officer in the state to receive permission to wear a religious turban and beard while on duty. This inspired other Sikhs in other law enforcement agencies like the New York City Police Department to fight for their right to wear articles of faith while on duty.
“It truly is inspirational, and amazing how one man was able to affect change and understanding in his department and was able to show that crime fighting for the citizens in his community and believing in his faith should never be infringed upon,” said APD Officer Dhaliwal.
Sikhism, the world’s fifth most popular religion, originated in the Punjab region of northern India near the end of the 15th century.