Dallas can’t become a “city on a hill” unless its faith leaders, politicians and law enforcement officials work together to solve problems — even when those problems don’t touch them specifically, city leaders said at a panel Saturday.
It was the first time that the three current top law enforcement officials — the district attorney, the police chief and the sheriff — came together, meeting at the Potter’s House in Dallas to publicly address challenges that their organizations face.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson moderated the discussion, which featured Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, new Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall and defense attorney Toby Shook as panelists.
Johnson asked the panelists whether they believe it’s realistic for law enforcement and the community to have a strong partnership.
“Can we really get it right?” she asked. “Can we in Dallas really show the world, not just this country, but show the world that we can do better?”
The leaders’ messages about income disparity, public trust and community policing seemed to be a hit with the hundreds of people who responded to their comments with applause, cheers and standing ovations..
Here are some highlights from the discussion (quotes condensed for clarity):
Chief Hall: “Part of that [accountability] is bringing the community to the table, creating advisory boards, bringing everybody to the table and talking about where we are as a community, in law enforcement. If we’re missing the mark, make the necessary adjustments to ensure we are actually going in the right direction. Talk is cheap until you put work behind it.”
Sheriff Valdez: “The old saying has always been if you’re not at the table you’re on the menu. So of course, you need to be there. You need to be at that table. We have to recognize that when we come to the table, we’re not going to get everything that we want. It has to be a give and take at that table.”
Bishop Jakes: “Dallas could create that city on a hill … but it’s going to take us not saying they have a problem, or they have a problem. It has to be our problem and we have to solve it together.”
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SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News – Naheed Rajwani