First Sikh deputy constable sworn into Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office

HOUSTON – It was a historic day as the first Sikh deputy constable was sworn in Tuesday as a member of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office.

Amrit Singh’s swearing-in coincided with the adoption of a new policy that allows law enforcement officers in nearly every single Harris County Constable’s Office to wear articles of their faith while in uniform. For Sikhs, that means being able to wear a turban and beard while on duty.

Singh took his oath in front of colleagues, family, friends and members of the Sikh community Tuesday.

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a deputy. I didn’t know where or necessarily how to go about it,” Singh said.

At 20 years old, Singh joined the police academy, not knowing where he would ultimately wind up or which agency would allow him to serve while wearing his articles of faith.

“Constable Rosen was the first one to give me a callback. He opened this agency with open arms for me,” Singh said.

“At precinct one, we strive to every day to treat people every day by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin,” Constable Rosen said, echoing the words of slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a day after the country honored him. “The same goes for religion.”

Tuesday’s ceremony was filled with joy, pride and the continuation of a legacy left behind by the very first Sikh deputy to serve in Texas.

“Legacy of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal is not far removed, it clearly recognized and acknowledge his service and this is gift that continues to give in his recognition and legacy,” said Bobby Singh, a Sikh community leader.

In 2009, Dhaliwal was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and in 2015, he became the first Sikh deputy to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform. He was shot and killed during a traffic stop last year.

“We honor his legacy by honoring his faith here today,” Rosen said.

In Nov. 2019, the Houston Police Department also expanded its policy to allow officers to wear articles of faith while in uniform.

About the Author: