Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal gained national attention in 2015 when he was allowed to wear a turban and beard as part of his uniform
HOUSTON — The Houston Police Department announced Monday it is changing its uniform policy to allow officers to wear their articles of faith while serving, which is prohibited by many law enforcement agencies nationwide.
CNN reports the policy change was partially in honor of Sandeep Dhaliwal, the Harris County sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty in September. Dhaliwal gained national attention in 2015 after his department changed its policy to allow him to wear the Sikh turban and a beard as part of his uniform.
CNN reports the NYPD, Chicago Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies have implemented similar policies in recent years. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told CNN the department had already been working on a religious accommodation policy, but after Dhaliwal’s death, he placed a priority on formalizing the policy.
“You can’t just be welcoming and diverse. You have to be inclusive,” Acevedo told CNN. “And inclusivity and bringing people in means that we had to change our policy.”
Sikh advocacy groups praised the change, according to CNN.
“This policy change shows that no one should ever choose between their faith or their career, and also that these articles of faith pose no barrier to service,” Nikki Singh, policy and advocacy manager for the Sikh Coalition, told CNN.