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How Dallas Police Department Is Coping Following Shooting


And joining us now, also from Dallas, is Malik Aziz, who is the deputy police chief for the Dallas PD. Welcome to the program.

MALIK AZIZ: Oh, well, thank you for having me. And I'm also the national chair of the National Black Police Association.

NEARY: And we are going to discuss that, absolutely. And I just want to express our condolences for this - the terrible shooting this week and ask you, first of all, you know, how are police officers in Dallas holding up now?

AZIZ: Well, I can tell you that our hearts in Dallas are really heavy. The officers are trying to put one foot in front of the other, and we're just greeting each other with we're going to get through this or we're going to make it through this.

They're hurt, they're in a state of shock or disbelief because they - they've lost brothers in blue. They've lost peers or comrades. They've lost partners, and families have suffered a tremendous loss of husbands and sons and fathers and brothers. And so Dallas police is in a state of healing with their hearts heavily broken.

NEARY: Does this attack change anything about how your officers will do their jobs in the future?

AZIZ: No, I think police - Dallas police especially - but police across the nation that I've seen are very professional - a professional police force, as Dallas PD, a very progressive police force in community engagement and community policing. I don't think that that will change. Of course it will - caution will rise, concern will rise. That's human nature.

And we adorn this uniform and this badge and have an oath to the state to protect and serve the citizens of this great city and the nation. And I think that Dallas police will do that even with heavy hearts, even with heavy hearts.

NEARY: The Dallas police chief said that this has to stop, this divisiveness, he said, between the lack of trust between the police and the community. What steps can be taken to resolve that distress and disconnect?

AZIZ: Well, I can say our police chief, David Brown, is right on point. We know that it - this thing has to stop, that we must sit at the table. It starts with the police chief. It starts with city government. It starts with a open dialogue and it starts with groups, even Black Lives Matter, any other group who wants to redress their grievances against the most visible form of city government, the police department. We must sit at the table and have an open dialogue with an understanding that our ideology, our philosophy, that we may agree to disagree.

So that's where it starts. We have to start with a real conversation with transparency that we're going to commit to making a - the city and the nation better. And that's where we're failing at. But we have failed police leaders. I don't think Dallas police is a failed department, or our police chief is a failure for community policing and community engagement.

I think they are progressing and pushing the envelope. They're pushing it forward. And - but we need somebody to meet us in the middle or we'll try to go all the way to them. We'll find them.

NEARY: Do you think you could work with the Black Lives Matter movement, for example, or how do police feel about that?

AZIZ: Well, let me tell you our relationship here in Dallas. We've met with Black Lives Matter. I know the president myself. He is - we have a great relationship. He's a progressive young individual who's the leader, the president, of the organization. And he has a mission, and he has a focus, but he is open to dialogue, and he wants to see a better city.

So we're not going to fight or oppose a group because we have a different feeling. The Black Lives Matter march, police officers in Dallas just before that were out there taking photos and selfies with Black Lives Matters protesters.

NEARY: That's what was so tragic about this, the fact that it was so peaceful and that was happening, and then it was shattered by this terrible sniper.

AZIZ: Yes.

NEARY: Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We have to move on now, but I greatly appreciate your being with us.

AZIZ: Oh, thank you so much.

NEARY: That was Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.