Slain Sikh police officer Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was gunned down in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop in Houston a year ago, was a hero and a trailblazer whose commitment to his faith will inspire generations of Sikhs and other religious minorities to serve in law enforcement, a top US Senator has said.
Senator Ted Cruz's remarks came after the US Senate unanimously passed a legislation to name a post office in Houston after him.
Cruz, the US Senator for Texas, said that Dhaliwal has left a profound legacy on the law enforcement community.
"That is exactly who Deputy Dhaliwal was, a hero. He was deeply committed to his faith, his family, and to serving others with compassion," Cruz said in his remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
"Moved by his Sikh faith, Deputy Dhaliwal was a trailblazer. When he was first recruited by the sheriff's office, Deputy Dhaliwal petitioned the office to allow him to wear his turban and beard while in uniform, becoming the first to be allowed to do so," he said.
"Dhaliwal's commitment to his faith will inspire generations of Sikhs and other religious minorities to serve in law enforcement and protect our communities," he said.
On September 27, 2019, Deputy Dhaliwal, 42, was killed in the line of duty in service of his community.
In his remarks, Cruz also remembered Dhaliwal's commitment to love and peace.
"When Hurricane Harvey decimated the Texas Gulf Coast, Deputy Dhaliwal served meals to Houstonians who were left homeless. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, he travelled to Puerto Rico to assist in the relief efforts there. He also worked to deliver water and supplies to Punjab, India, while the area was suffering from a severe drought," he said.
"Dhaliwal leaves behind an unmistakably beautiful legacy of a life marked with faith, devotion, and service to others. I am grateful my colleagues have moved to rename the US Postal Office in Houston the ''Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Building,'' to ensure Deputy Dhaliwal's selfless service and heroism is remembered," Cruz said.
The US House of Representatives and Senate have passed the bipartisan legislation to rename the post office at 315 Addicks Howell Road in Houston as ''Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Building.''
The bill is now headed to the White House for it to sign into law by outgoing President Donald Trump.
The post office named after Dhaliwal in Houston is only the second US post office to be named after an Indian American. The first one was named after the first Indian American Congressman Dalip Singh Saund in Southern California in 2006.
Born in India, Dhaliwal moved to Houston along with his parents.
In 2015, Dhaliwal of the Harris County Sheriff's office became the first Sikh American in Texas to receive a policy accommodation to serve while wearing his articles of faith, including his turban and beard.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)