Advocates hope AG visit increases police, community dialogue

Easing tensions between communities and police

DALLAS -- Ahead of the highly anticipated visit of Attorney General Loretta Lynch to Dallas Monday and Tuesday, community advocates are watching closely to see just what exactly is discussed.

Colette Flanagan lost her son, Clinton Allen, in 2013 after he was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer.

She has been an advocate ever since trying to improve community and police relations.

Flanagan hopes Lynch's visit, and events with Dallas police, are more than just a photo opportunity.

"We want policemen to look at our children like they see their children. They want to come home at night, and they want to come home at night. That's community policing," she says.

Lynch's visit comes as part of the effort to raise awareness for National Community Policing Week. National Night Out, which traditionally brings officers and their communities together, is on Tuesday.

During her visit to Dallas, Lynch is expected to announce a $119 million grant to hire more than 900 new officers nationwide, including $3.1 million to hire 25 new officers in Dallas.

Lynch is planning to host a youth community policing forum at Sunset High School in Oak Cliff Monday afternoon. A small group of students has been hand-selected by their teachers to attend. 

Senior Don Hartley is one of them. 

"I think it's important the police know that we're human beings and I think it's important we know the police are human beings as well," said Hartley. 

"There should be more police interaction with the community, but like in a good way. Like if they have like, community block parties, police officers should be there, not only for their own protection but to get to know people in their community," Hartley added.

Alisa Simmons thinks the visit could be beneficial to North Texas as a whole.

As the head of the Arlington chapter of the NAACP, she has had recent experience with unarmed black men dying in law enforcement situations.

Christian Taylor was shot at a car dealership last year, and Jonathan Paul died in the Arlington jail earlier in 2015.

"Hopefully, they're not just for PR purposes and she addresses some tough issues," she says. 

Simmons says her chapter has a good relationship with Arlington police.

Lynch is expected to meet with officers and police chiefs, as well as honor the families of the officers killed in the July 7th sniper attack on police in downtown Dallas. 

She will join DPD for a National Night Out Against Crime event Tuesday evening. 


Copyright 2016 WFAA


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