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 Sheriff’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 city’s Gurdwara Sikh National Center for the langar or communal meal.
The procession route donned blue and white signs reading “Always in Our Hearts,” and “In Loving Memory of Deputy Dhaliwal,” 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 “humble, fearless, not dissuaded by negativity,” while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the deputy’s children that the Houston community is “grateful for your father’s service, and his sacrifice and his legacy.”
RELATED: Slain Texas deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal’s funeral on Wednesday (September 30, 2019)
Described as “a trailblazer” 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 “inspired an entire generation of Sikhs to join public service.”
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.