Dallas shooting: Community-police relations in Dayton area good, judge says

In the wake of the 11 Dallas police officers who were shot Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Walter Rice, co-chair of the Dayton Dialogues on Race Relations, said community-police relations in the Dayton region are better than in many U.S. communities.

He said the region has an established network of groups that work to facilitate difficult conversations and interactions between people of very different backgrounds and life experiences.

The conversations are designed to find common ground and help people better understand one another, especially following crisis events, he said.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer are very committed to improving community relations, but the relationship between law enforcement and citizens remains strained and tensions endure, Rice said.

“Improvements are needed,” he said.

Many community members feel as though police act as if they are the military and treat neighborhoods as if they occupying enemy territory, he said.

Many police officers are frustrated that citizens do not seem to understand the dangers and hardships of their jobs and why they make certain decisions in the line of duty, he said.

Dayton police and Montgomery County Sheriff’s office declined to comment on the Dallas officer shootings Friday.