Several local law enforcement agencies will gather Wednesday morning in what is being described as a first-ever summit on the topic of community engagement.
Representatives from the Dallas Police Department, the Plano Police Department, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office will meet at Fair Park for the North Texas Law Enforcement Community Engagement Summit.
“Everybody is thinking separately. No one is thinking together,” said Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, who pushed for the summit.
Agencies gathered Wednesday will discuss successful strategies of theirs for dealing directly with members of the public.
One such program that will be highlighted is Unidos, a Hispanic outreach program created by Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye.
Unidos meetings are coordinated by the police department and are conducted entirely in Spanish. Topics from past Unidos meetings have included banking, family violence, immigration, insurance and issues related to the Grand Prairie Independent School District.
DA Johnson emphasized that conversations like this, of how to relate better with the community at large, are long overdue and that the stakes are higher than ever.
“[People] have always been suspect of us. Come on! They don’t typically see law enforcement as their friend,” Johnson said. “A lot of people can’t get past the bad. They can’t see the good.”