Houston Post Office renames to honor the death of an Indian American Sikh officer


A US Post Office in Houston has renamed its building after an Indian American County sheriff who was killed during a traffic stop in September 2019.

Two years after the murder of Harris County Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, local district leaders and the USPS decided to honor the brave officer’s death.

Houston’s Sikh community and local elected officials and members of law enforcement gathered Tuesday at a ceremony at the post office at 315 Addicks-Howell Road to dedicate the post office “Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office.”

“This will serve as a permanent reminder of Deputy Dhaliwal’s service, sacrifice, and example to us all,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

Dhaliwal, 42, was a beloved sheriff’s deputy who gained national prominence after lobbying his bosses to allow him to wear his articles of faith — including the traditional facial hair and turban common to practicing Sikhs — while on duty.

Dhaliwal was a well-known deputy, who was considered a trailblazer for being the department’s first Sikh deputy.

“He represented the very best of our community: he worked for equality, connection, and community through his life of service to others. I was glad to work with a bipartisan delegation, our community partners, and those in the Sikh community, to pass legislation to rename this building the Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office,” Congresswomen Fletcher added.

Dhaliwal joined the sheriff’s department after a scandal in which a deputy detained a local Sikh family for refusing to surrender their ceremonial knives, recalled Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who hired Dhaliwal when he was sheriff. After the scandal, Dhaliwal sold his trucking company and joined the department, working first as a jailer and then as a patrol deputy.

He became a familiar face at events throughout the community where he worked and his death was attended by thousands of mourners from across Houston.

After Dhaliwal was killed, several other law enforcement agencies, including the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, also changed policies to allow Sikhs to wear clothes and other items important to their faith typically prohibited by strict uniform policies.

The renaming follows other honors for Dhaliwal: his name has been inscribed on the Texas Peace Officer’s Memorial, the Harris County Toll Road Authority renamed part of Beltway 8 after him, and members of the Copperbrook HOA in northwest Houston created a memorial dedicated to the deputy.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the post office would serve as a permanent reminder of Dhaliwal’s “lasting contributions” of a “committed public servant who touched countless lives.”

“He was a true hero who inspired everyone to love their neighbors,” Gonzalez said.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia — who hired Dhaliwal when he was sheriff — said he hoped the post office’s new name would inspire other Harris County residents to learn about Dhaliwal.

“Anyone who came across Dep. Sandeep Dhaliwal was a better person for having known him,” he said. “I’m thankful visitors to the newly renamed post office will see his name and be encouraged to learn how special he was.”

Dhaliwal’s relatives and Houston-area Sikhs said Tuesday’s dedication was a “deeply meaningful” gesture in honor of the slain deputy.