Dallas County DA hosts conversation about police relations

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is organizing a town hall meeting to discuss how to improve the relationship between police and the people they are charged with protecting and serving.

The meeting will be held at the Potter’s House Church on Saturday beginning at noon and will be open to the public.

From Southern Dallas to Downtown to Far North Dallas, people agree police-community relations are under pressure for different reasons. They offered different perspectives.

“I feel like it’s been a problem for a long time,” said Hadley Kleinschmidt. “It could be like systematic oppression of people.”

“There are lawbreakers. They are out there doing things they are not supposed to be doing,” said Scott Busse. “And it’s a very difficult job for them. They're risking their lives, their property, everything. They have to try to bring law and order to this society.”

“What I don’t understand is if they're going to protect us, why beat us?” said Karry Metcalf.  “Got my hands up. Everybody ain’t the same.”

“I think our police work very hard, and they have a very tough, scary job,” said Melissa Devereux. “But I do think in a lot of communities there’s sort of a feeling of ‘It’s us versus them.’”

The why DA Faith Johnson has called a community conversation to look at ways to strengthen cop-community relations

“We want to know what are the problems and how can we resolve it,” she said. “I want to be able to take that conversation and see how we can resolve issues in Dallas County.”

Kane McGirt says making law enforcement more self-conscious about how they approach people could help improve police relations.

“I think also that'll help people maybe feel a little bit different about law enforcement as well,” he said.

“I think more things like these town halls,” said Devereux. “I think it’s harder to be afraid of someone that you know.”

“I love the police because they're supposed to protect us,” said Metcalf. “But how can you love something that’s gonna hurt us?”

“They also have an obligation to treat every individual with respect,” said Teresa Perez.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, new Dallas Police Chief Rene Hall, State Senator Royce West and defense attorney Toby Shook will join Johnson in the town hall meeting.

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