Dallas PD inviting public to law enforcement summit as they work to improve relationship with public

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Understaffed and having tensions with the community, the Dallas Police Department is once again trying to heal.

This is the second year DPD is hosting the Community Engagement Summit, but it's the first time the public is being invited to participate.

The sergeant spearheading the event said it's a chance for his officers to have an open dialogue with residents, many of whom are concerned about rising crime and DPS troopers patrolling city streets.

Fair Park -- a venue nestled in a part of the city all too familiar with violent crime – is playing host to DPD's second annual North Texas Law Enforcement Community Engagement Summit on Thursday, Sept. 5.

The event brings together law enforcement and community professionals from across North Texas to discuss best practices in community policing.

This year, the public is invited to attend.

"To listen to them and hear from them and see how we can improve, not only our services, but our relationships," DPD Sgt. Robert Munoz.

It comes at a time when the relationship between law enforcement and some folks in the community are strained.

With DPD understaffed, and state troopers being brought in to help combat violent crime, many South Dallas residents feel they are being overpoliced by the troopers, with one clash being caught on video.

Kirk Myers is the CEO of Abounding Prosperity, an LGBTQ center in South Dallas, and believes officers need to make sure they don't cross the line of overpolicing.

"What is the rationale for them stopping someone? Is there really probable cause? Or does it come across as harassment? I think there's a fine line," Myers said.

"We've heard some of those concerns from residents in South Dallas and Fair Park about the very visible presence of DPS," said Joli Robinson.

Robinson is the manager with DPD's Community Engagement Unit.

She said she is not as concerned about what DPS troopers are doing, as she is about how her unit can do improve relationships with the public.

"The only way that we can build trust is by having a consistent presence," Robinson added.

That means having community events all across the city, year-round.

Robinson and Sgt. Munoz are helping plan a health and safety fair at Reverchon Park.

An LGBTQ event is also being planned in South Dallas later next month.

"We know the only way we can do that is offer those family-friendly, non-emergency moments for community members to meet those officers working in their community," Robinson added.

DPS won't be part of next Community Engagement Summit.

Abounding Prosperity is one of several community organizations planning to attend.

The cost to attend is $10.