Arlington Police Recognized in New DOJ Video on Police-Race Relations

Building trust with communities of color is one of the key issues police departments across the nation face today.

In a new video, the U.S. Department of Justice is highlighting the efforts of the police department that it believes has shown success in that area — even in the face of the crisis.

The DOJ partnered with anti-violence organization called "Not in Our Town" to produce a 30 minute video all about the Arlington Police Department.

The video showcases several programs APD has launched to help build relationships within the community, including National Night Out, their Mentoring Arlington Youth — or MAY program, as well as their Coach 5-0 program.

It also gets candid about how the department has handled critical incidents, like the 2015 shooting death of Christian Taylor, an unarmed black teen who was killed by a police officer.

The video notes that while tensions ran high in the aftermath of the shooting, that case did not throw the city in to chaos.

Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson credits the department's community policing efforts prior to the shooting for helping cooler heads to prevail.

"If you don't have effective relationships and effective community policing before you have a critical incident, you're certainly not going to be able to weather the absolute challenges and stress that a critical incident might have," said Johnson. "Make no mistake — it's the hard work of the men and women who care about people in doing their job that gives me the ability to hopefully tell their story, so that whenever that relationship is challenged, people decide to stick with you."

Johnson, who has served on national boards and committees that study this issue, hopes the video can be helpful to other agencies and provide some insight to the public about how police departments are working to navigate this important topic.

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