Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal - Heart of a Lion

In his last moments, Adrian Garcia said that Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal "has a heart of a lion." He was truly a Si...

A family's home is burglarized. A window is broken. Jewelry and money are missing. The family is confused, scared, and hurt that such a thing could happen to them in their very own home. They call 911 and the police get dispatched. Help was on it's way. However when the police officer arrived, it was not actually help, it was intimidation and interrogation that arrived instead.

This robbery happened to a family of Sikhs who had all taken Amrit. This family kept all 5 articles of the Sikh faith including their kirpans. Upon seeing those kirpans, the police officer who arrived at the scene did not ask about the robber or the burglary or anything pertaining to the reason that he was actually called for. He instead pointed a taser at one of the female family member's head and then handcuffed and detained 4 other members of the family. The police officer then called for back up.

This family had just been victims of a home invasion and yet they were the ones who were treated as criminals. They were distraught, humiliated, and disrespected on their own property. A supervisor then arrived at their home and released the family members. He apologized and blamed the incident on that particular police officer's youth, but it was apparent that the Harris County Police Department had a huge problem.

They needed to be educated. They needed to be informed. They needed to treat Sikh Americans with the same equality and respect as all other Americans. They needed to accept. They needed to change.

Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal brought about that change.

In 2009, Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal joined the Harris Country Sheriffs office as a detention officer. At that time the the police department did not allow turbans to be worn. Yet, it was in Sandeep's heart to wear one again. He had a goal and a vision. He knew that the system needed to change and his first stop to start that change was Gurudwara.

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In 2012, I was on the committee at the Sikh Center Gurudwara and it was at this time that I had the honor and the privilege to not only meet Sandeep but to work with him on community events. He came to the Gurudwara and spoke to the entire committee about his intentions of wanting to wear a turban again and more importantly wanting to wear it while serving as a police officer. He had our full support as he wanted to bridge the gap between the Harris County Police Department and the Sikh Community. After the incident that took place in November of 2008, the Sikh community lost a lot of faith and trust in the police department, but Sandeep was about to change all of that.

He brought members of the police force to the Gurudwara including Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Their visit to the Gurudwara was an event that we all organized and celebrated. Sandeep built a foundation of communication and understanding for both sides. Because of him, the police department was learning even more about the Sikhs and were becoming more accepting of our faith. Also, because of him, the Sikh community was rebuilding trust into the police department . He was a pioneer of change with a heart of gold.

I still remember, it was at that event that the Sheriff spoke at Gurudwara to the entire sangat and encouraged the Sikhs to join the police force. He spoke so highly of Sandeep. He talked about what an asset Sandeep was to the force and he told us that they need more people like Sandeep.

Waheguru. Yes, the world needs more people like Sandeep.

Within a few years, in 2015 because of Sandeep's efforts, the Harris County police department allowed police officers to wear turbans while serving and Sandeep was the first one to proudly wear it. I will never be able to write enough words or convey enough emotion to explain how deeply proud we all were for him.

Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal was a true leading example of a sevadar not only for the Sikh community, but for the city of Houston, and for all humankind. He was an incredibly down to earth, humble, sincere, and genuine person. He continued to do countless amounts of seva. When the Wisconsin Gurudwara shootings happened, he helped with Houston events. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston he organized an 18 wheeler truckload of 1 million dollars worth of supplies from California to help those in need. He even volunteered in Puerto Rico when tragedy hit this region.

September 27, 2019 Houston Texas

While performing his duty, Sandeep pulled over a convicted criminal that ended up shooting him to death and ending his life. I won't get into all of those logistics as all of the details are all over the news right now. This blog is not about his death. This blog is about his life and the impact he had on so many people. In his last moments, Adrian Garcia said that Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal "has a heart of a lion." He was truly a Singh.

I like so many others are shocked, distraught, angry, hurt, and devastated. People say that he had a purpose on this life and he fulfilled his purpose and so his time here had to come to an end. But why? Why do good people like Sandeep have to leave so soon?  Even if they fulfilled their purpose, why can't they just stay here longer and hang out with the rest of us while we try to fulfill our life purpose too?  I will never understand nor will I ever try to understand God's ways as everything has to go according to Waheguru's hukam. But still, it is so very hard to accept at a time like this. All I know right now is one thing and one thing only:

We need more people like Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal.

Bhull Chuk Maaf
Christine Kaur

Christine Kaur

Christine Kaur started blogging as an outlet to express the trials of relationships of second generation western born Sikhs like herself.

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