New York: In a historic moment, an Indian American law enforcement officer Amrit Singh, 21, has become the first turban-wearing Sikh to be sworn in as Deputy Constable in Harris County in Texas.
Singh’s swearing-in ceremony coincided with the adoption of a new policy that allows law enforcement officers in Harris County Constable’s Office to wear articles of their faith while in uniform, the media reported on Wednesday.
“As a man of the Jewish faith, I know how it feels to be religiously targeted and how important it is to teach inclusion, understanding and tolerance,” said Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen.
Sandeep Dhaliwal was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 and in 2015, he became the first Sikh law enforcement officer to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform.
Unfortunately, he was shot and killed during a traffic stop last year.
“We honor his legacy by honoring his faith here today,” Rosen was quoted as saying.
“Legacy of Dhaliwal is not far removed, it clearly recognized and acknowledged his service and this is a gift that continues to give in his recognition and legacy,” said Bobby Singh, a Sikh community leader.
Singh spent years in law enforcement explorer programs and five months in a police training academy.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a deputy and my Sikh faith was also very important to me,” Singh said.
“Constable Alan Rosen was the first one to give me a callback. He opened this agency with open arms for me,” he added.
In the months since Dhaliwal’s death, law enforcement agencies in California, Washington and in Texas have expressed willingness to change their policies, according to Manpreet Singh of the Sikh Coalition.
Amrit Singh’s parents were also felicitated recognized at the ceremony.
“The way I look at it, maybe it will make me pray harder and be more praying for his protection from God,” said Singh’s mother Sukie Kaur.