VIDEO: Deputy Dhaliwal and HCSO Make History! #SikhsWhoServeFebruary 16th, 2015
This month, Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) welcomed Sikh officers with their articles of faith intact! The HCSO is the largest Sheriff’s Office in the United States to have a full-time Sikh American officer with his articles of faith intact due to a religious accommodation exception to their dress code policy. To mark this landmark occasion, SALDEF, alongside Sheriff Adrian Garcia of the HCSO, and Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal spoke at a press conference last week and attended the Sikh National Center in Houston, Texas on Sunday. Manpreet Kaur Singh, Sikh Coalition Advocate who contributed to the effort, and Navdeep Singh Nijjar, HCSO Communications Officer, were also recognized during the event.
At the press conference, SALDEF Regional Director Bobby Singh remarked on the significance of the religious accommodation policy to all of Harris County, and the many partners that came together to create this progress since Sheriff Garcia’s 2008 election. Sheriff Garcia said that the “heavy lifting is not mine” and that what he did was “…listen to a community.” Jasjit Singh, SALDEF Executive Director discussed how HCSO and Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal join a legacy as far-reaching as the Sikhs who served for the Allied Forces in World War I and World War II. Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal explained how serving as a deputy was natural to him as a Sikh, and that the HCSO recognized “…that the Sikh articles of faith is integral to a Sikh being a Sikh.”
It was also announced that SALDEF will provide trainings to Harris County deputies through its Law Enforcement Partnership Program in the coming weeks.
SALDEF has worked hand-in-hand with HCSO’s communications department to generate media coverage that ensured Sikh values, including service, were part of resulting media coverage, and our media outreach ensured that Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal had a local, national, and international platform to share his Sikh American story. We are deeply appreciative of their partnership in this effort.
National and State Media Coverage:
Community and International Papers (Examples):
You can ensure that SALDEF’s Law Enforcement Partnership Program and Media Initiative can continue to create these Sikh American landmark events across the United States. Donate Today!
We are mourning the loss of three young lives this week: Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. May we work to create a world that is safe and fostering for all.