Dear Commons Community,
As Dallas and the country attempt to recover from the police shootings last week, the Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, emerged as a leader in helping us to understand the complexity of issues involved with race, poor communities, violence, and the police. The Huffington Post published a recap of the press conference he gave on Monday.
“The chief, whose city lost five officers when a sniper opened fire and targeted police at a Black Lives Matter march last week, gave a press conference Monday about the state of affairs not only in his city, but in the nation.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” he said. “Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve” noting issues including mental health, drug addiction, the large proportion of African-American single mothers, and failing schools. “Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
Brown, who has lost multiple family members to violence, including his son, who was shot and killed by police in 2010 after killing an officer and another victim, joined the Dallas Police Department in 1983 after seeing his neighborhood of Oak Cliff “deteriorate” from the crack cocaine epidemic, despite having not-so-positive interactions with law enforcement.
“You stay away from the police in my old neighborhood. You get the police; you get in trouble,” he told the Dallas Observer earlier this year. Still, he was inspired by cops he saw in TV and movies. “I didn’t have any idea about what as a police officer you could do, but I thought that police officers help people. They come and they restore order. They put the disreputables in jail.”
On Monday, he urged protesters who have spoken out demanding change in the wake of shootings of unarmed black men to be part of the solution.
“Become a part of the solution,” he said. “Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem. We’re hiring. We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”
Brown makes an important observation! We ask a lot of police as well as some of our other public services in this country.