LIVE NEWS CONFERENCE: HCSO to welcome first Sikh deputy to serve with articles of faith

Sheriff Adrian Garcia and members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office will make history as they welcome the agency’s first Sikh deputy who will serve with Sikhism’s articles of faith, including turban and beard.
Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, an observant Sikh, will for the first time be allowed to wear a turban and beard as part of his HCSO uniform.
Dep. Dhaliwal joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Jan. 2009 as a detention officer. He became a patrol deputy in 2012 but per departmental policy at the time, he wasn’t allowed to wear a turban or beard- both articles of faith of the Sikh religion. Thanks to Sheriff Garcia that policy now has changed.
“Sheriff Garcia’s commitment to inclusion will help ensure that Harris County continues to attract the best and brightest from across our community to serve,” said Bobby Singh, Regional Director, SALDEF (Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund). “We cherish the values that are cultivated through a career in law enforcement, like service and commitment,” he added.
In 2014, Sheriff Garcia allowed for exceptions to the HCSO’s uniform policy to allow certain employees such as Dep. Dhaliwal to wear turbans, neatly groomed beards, and other articles of faith.
In doing so, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office joins the United States military and other law enforcement agencies across the country that have made religious accommodations for observant Sikh employees among their ranks.
“We are proud of our six year partnership with the HCSO as they continue to set best practices for the law enforcement community. We believe that this announcement will inspire other local law enforcement units from around the country to follow in Harris County’s footsteps,” said Jasjit Singh, Executive Director, SALDEF.
Some 25 million people around the world practice Sikhism, the fifth largest religion. Sikhism originated in the Punjab region in India.

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