Thousands of people from all walks of life turned out for the day-long ceremonies here on Wednesday to honor slain Indian-American police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was killed on duty during a routine traffic stop.
In honor of the trailblazing Deputy Sheriff who was killed in the line of duty while maintain his Sikh turban, scores of police officers across the nation and Canada, including Governors, Senators, and fellow Sikhs from as far as England, Canada, India attended the final services of their fallen brethren.
Funeral services for Sandeep Singh were broadcaster lives by local, national, international channels, and across social media.
|“This one individual has raised more Sikhi awareness in his short career as a turban wearing policeman in Texas than many of us will ever do in our life time…What a great legacy!” – Ravi Singh (Khalsa Aid)|
Sandeep Singh 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.
He was gunned down while conducting a routine mid-day traffic stop in northwest of Houston on Friday.
The fallen deputy’s funeral included processions, a traditional Sikh funeral and a law enforcement funeral with a 21-gun salute from fellow officers and a helicopter flyover.
As ‘Amazing Grace’ was played on the bagpipes, members of Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) folded the American flag that covered his casket and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez presented it to Dhaliwal’s widow who clutched it to her heart.
After final ceremonies from the law enforcement memorial service, the Dhaliwal family and members of HCSO headed to the Winford Funeral Home for a closed cremation.
The procession route was lined with blue and white signs reading “Always in Our Hearts,” and “In Loving Memory of Deputy Dhaliwal.” People had posted custom yard signs, billboards and flowers all along the route and in the neighborhood.
At the service, Simratpal Singh, a US Army Captain, flanked by other members of the Sikh community in military service, described Dhaliwal as “humble, fearless, not dissuaded by negativity.” “Our lion may be gone physically but his legacy of selfless service and of breaking down barriers will continue to live,” he said.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking before thousands during the Sikh part of the ceremony, addressed Dhaliwal’s wife and three children in saying the community “supports you and lifts you up.” “We are grateful for your father’s service, and his sacrifice and his legacy,” Cruz said.
Dhaliwal, the father of three, joined the force 10 years back and was the state’s first law enforcement officer to receive permission to wear a religious turban and beard while on duty.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia who hired Dhaliwal 10 years ago said the stadium full of people and the deputy’s celebration of life was “fit for a king.” As he addressed Dhaliwal’s father, he said, “Baba, you raised a good man. You raised him with a heart of gold. It is unfair that a father should outlive his son.” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he doesn’t normally speak at public funerals but he was honored to be invited to speak at Dhaliwal’s funeral.
Various sources: Herald Tribune, PTI, Harris County Sheriff’s Department