Dhaliwal remembered for compassion and a life marked by public service.
Houston residents turned up in massive numbers early Wednesday to honor slain police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was shot dead on duty during a traffic stop last week.
The daylong ceremonies, streamed live on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, included a procession, a traditional Sikh funeral and a law enforcement funeral with a 21-gun salute from fellow officers, besides a helicopter flyover.
“Amazing Grace” was played on the bagpipes and members of the Harris County Sheriffâ€™s Office folded the American flag that covered his casket and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez presented it to Dhaliwal’s widow with helicopters flying overhead followed by a 21-gun salute.
After the law enforcement memorial service at Berry Center, the Dhaliwal family went to the Winford Funeral Home for a private final prayer. Later, the HCSO officers carried his casket into a hearse and escorted it to the funeral home. The mourners were invited to the cityâ€™s Gurdwara Sikh National Center for the langar or communal meal.
The procession route donned blue and white signs reading â€œAlways in Our Hearts,â€ and â€œIn Loving Memory of Deputy Dhaliwal,â€ besides billboards and flowers along the route. The dress code was navy blue, just like the Harris County Sheriff’s Office uniform.
Simratpal Singh, a US Army Captain, described Dhaliwal as â€œhumble, fearless, not dissuaded by negativity,â€ while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the deputyâ€™s children that the Houston community is â€œgrateful for your fatherâ€™s service, and his sacrifice and his legacy.â€
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Described as â€œa trailblazerâ€ for being the first Sikh deputy in the county, Dhaliwal is being remembered for his compassion, warm smile and for a life marked by service to others. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the nation’s first Sikh state’s attorney general, said Dhaliwal â€œinspired an entire generation of Sikhs to join public service.â€
Dhaliwal was the state’s first law enforcement officer to get permission to wear a religious turban and grow beard while on duty. He used to attend the Sikh National Center twice a week with his family. He’s survived by his wife and three children.
Prior to the service on Wednesday, a candlelight vigil by the sheriff’s office on Monday and a 48-hour-long prayer-vigil at the Gurdwara Sikh National Center was held.
Houston has more than 10,000 Sikh residents and more than a hundred thousand Indian Americans.