The Houston Police Department (HPD) on Tuesday officially adopted an accommodation policy for Sikh Americans to serve with their articles of faith intact.
HPD, the largest law enforcement agency in Texas, made the announcement at a public ceremony with the city Mayor present.
Mayor Sylvester Turner started the press conference remembering and thanking Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh-American police officer who was shot while conducting a traffic stop earlier in the year.
“This day just didn’t happen on its own; the work of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal laid the predicate, the foundation for today, ” Mayor Turner said.
He went on to talk about the diversity of Houston, saying they were making sure that diversity is represented around the table of public service in the city.
“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental American ideal. The Houston Police Department has demonstrated how to uphold and strengthen this ideal,” said SALDEF Executive Director Kiran Kaur Gill, thanking Mayor Turner and Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo for enacting this important policy change.
Today’s policy change follows the successful policy change of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), which in 2012 fully accepted Sikh American officers and candidates, the Riverside Police Department in California who amended their uniform policy in 2014, and the successful policy change and recruitment of Sandeep Dhaliwal by the Harris County Sheriff’s Department in 2015.
“Now the challenge is for others to follow the lead that Houston is setting today,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.