Attorney General Loretta Lynch finished her visit to North Texas Tuesday at a National Night Out celebration at UNT-Dallas.
The nation’s top law enforcement official was here to promote community policing. She chose Dallas, she said, because of the Dallas Police Department commitment to de-escalation training and community relations.
Lynch also announced $119 million in federal grants for police departments across the country to bolster community-oriented programs this week. Dallas will get $3 million for 25 new officers.
Speaking to the crowd of students and families gathered at the school for National Night Out celebrations that included marching band music, crafts and food, Lynch told the crowd she was proud of the Dallas Police Department for making strides to bridge the gaps between police and communities they serve.
Community policing, she, is a two-part process. It takes a commitment from the community and a commitment from the police to work together and do right. She says she hopes other cities can follow Dallas’ example.
“No matter where you live, no matter what you do, no matter what the history is, all of us, all of us, when we are in trouble, we want to call the police for help,” Lynch said. “And we want that response to come and we want it to come quickly and we want it to come in a way that comes in a way that lifts up the entire community. Everybody wants that.”
While Lynch came to Dallas to highlight the gains that have been made in community policing, she acknowledged that police reforms are coming in the midst of a continued drumbeat of high-profile killings of African-Americans by police officers. She told reporters it’s not a new issue. But she said sustained media coverage and social media have made the killings and shootings more visible.
“We’ve seen people from all backgrounds and walks of life be concerned about this issue,” Lynch said. “We’ve seen law enforcement stepping into the issue, into the dialogue as well, discussing whether situations were handled correctly or not. And it’s given us an opportunity to move forward and make some real progress on these issues.”
Lynch also said she wanted to come here to pay her respects to the families of the five officers killed when a gunman opened fire on police in downtown Dallas in July. She praised the city and its police department for showing strength and resilience after the shooting.
The attorney general spent time on Monday talking with high school students, Dallas Police Academy recruits and others about how to overcome distrust some communities feel with the police. Kingshyru Justice, a Sunset High School senior, took part in the discussion.
“The conversation was definitely necessary,” he said. “And I think the one thing that we should all take from it is we should all be trying to find a compromise. Because if we stand as a whole, then nothing can stop you.”
Lynch is back in Washington on Wednesday to continue her community policing tour.