A Dallas police officer, who did not want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas, Friday, July 8, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com
Posted July 8, 2016
The Dallas Police Department is known throughout the country as being one of the best managed and community involved police departments in the nation. Dallas Police Chief David Brown gets a lot of the credit for this success in community policing. I come from a family of police officers. My mother was one of the first female police officers in Washington, DC along with my Godmother and a host of “Aunts and Uncles” in blue. Growing up the Metropolitan Police Chief and a host of officers were in and out of my home. I have profound respect for the police and a clear understanding for the jobs that they do to keep their fellow citizens safe.
Under Police Chief Brown police officers have to participate in deadly force training every two months. Last year, Dallas police officers were issued body cameras to record interactions with civilians.
In a move to be transparent, the Dallas Police Department publishes on its website the number of officer-involved shooting incidents every year since 2003. The Dallas police department also identifies the locations of such incidents, the outcome, and the names of the officers.
At the same time as these reforms, according to The Washington Post, crime in Dallas has also fallen, with murders in the city hitting a 50-year low in 2014. Many of the reforms implemented in Dallas were embraced by a White House task force created by President Barack Obama two years ago that convened police officers, community leaders, and activists to identify best practices for law enforcement.
In the wake of this tragedy, here’s what some people are saying:
“Some of the bravest men and women you’d ever want to be associated with. You see video footage of them running toward gunfire from an elevated position with no chance to protect themselves. And to put themselves in harm’s way to make sure that citizens can get to a place of security. So, please join me in applauding these brave men and women who do this job under great scrutiny, under great vulnerability. Who literally risk their lives to protect our democracy. We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support.”
“Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown
“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this,” said Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1990 until 1995 and who represented an Atlanta-area congressional district for two decades.
“If you are a normal white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America,” he said.
White Americans “instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.”
Dallas-area Rep. Marc Veasey (D) choked up during the press conference as he spoke about reaching out to one of the families of an officer that was killed Thursday and describing how he fears for what could happen to his son.
“Right now he’s a cute fifth-grader,” Veasey said. “But I worry about him when he gets older, when he gets into high school. What if he’s out with some friends and he smarts off the wrong way?”
Rep. Marc Veasey
“Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices that they make for us,” he said. “We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic. And in the days ahead, we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”
President Barack Obama
Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. (LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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