Houston: A portion of a tollway here was renamed after slain Indian-American police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. The police officer was shot dead September last year on duty during a traffic stop. Dhaliwal, 42, was the first Sikh sheriff’s deputy in Harris county with a population of over 10,000 Sikhs. He made national headlines when he was allowed to grow a beard and wear a turban on the job.
Dhaliwal was scheduled to be promoted to a supervisor role where he would have mentored younger deputies on community policing. His death resonated across the US and the world. Tributes to his memory continued with the renaming of a section of ‘Beltway 8’ tollway between ‘Texas 249’ and ‘US 290’ after him last week.
The Harris County Toll Road Authority put up the sign ‘HCSO Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Tollway’ near Texas 249’. A special ceremony was also performed at the Gurdwara Sikh National Centre on the occasion. Dhaliwal, a father of three, joined the force 10 years back.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia, had hired Dhaliwal 10 years ago. He said, “I was honoured to commemorate a section of the Beltway 8 as ‘Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Tollway’ to honour one of finest who paid the ultimate sacrifice. His family attended the ceremony.””
Sim Singh, senior manager for policy and advocacy for the Sikh Coalition, said Dhaliwal was a hero to the community. He said they are still continuing to fight for religious equality, a road Dhaliwal helped build. “It’s historic and it’s a meaningful gesture to the Sikh community,” he said.
Since Dhaliwal’s murder, local law enforcement agencies have changed policies to include members of the Sikh faith. “Dhaliwal was a trailblazer, hero and role model. Gone but not forgotten. We miss our friend and brother,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.