Christina Smith Transcription
When you first heard what had happened at the protest, where were you? And what emotions or thoughts were driving you to continue doing your work?
I first heard about the shootings via text as I was walking my dogs. Because the protest was being carried on live television, the shootings were also captured. Friends began texting me to check on my welfare, but at the time, I had no idea what had happened.
Since the night of the shootings, in your experience, what has been Dallas’s response to the events?
The outpouring of love and support that has been demonstrated by not only the city of Dallas but by people across the nation has been nothing short of amazing. During our department’s darkest hours we received an unprecedented amount of support in many forms. I’m sure many people saw either in person or through media the impromptu memorial that grew to epic proportions in front of the Jack Evans Headquarters building almost immediately. We received thousands of items of encouragement to include cards, letters, art work, memorabilia and many other things that we could share with the families as well as display at Jack Evans. And the financial support from individuals and businesses alike has made a tremendous difference to the families affected. While it will not bring their loved one back, it will help with providing piece of mind as they deal with this tragedy.
What impact have the shootings had on our sense of community and our relationships with law enforcement? Have we come together more?
The tragedy of July 7th affected not only the Dallas Police Department, but the greater Dallas community as a whole. After watching tragedies unfold in cities across the country Dallas was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as we all grieved the loss of not only five courageous officers but also the loss of our feeling of security. But in true fashion American’s once again demonstrated what makes our country wonderful, and that is the way we all come together during time of need and support one another regardless of each other’s skin color, political beliefs, gender, etc. It has made us realize the amount of support we have from the community and for that we are grateful. But most importantly, July 7th has given us yet another opportunity to have the difficult discussions that are imperative to increasing trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
How have you seen the force respond to the shootings in the months after? Has anything changed in the department’s dynamic?
The men and women of the Dallas Police Department have displayed exceptional courage and strength in the months since July 7th. While they have all been dealing with the loss of their fellow officers they have continued to do what is expected of them which is to serve the citizens of Dallas. We have seen a greater sense of cohesiveness in the past few months as well as a heightened sense of awareness of fellow officers while out in the field.
What legacy did David Brown leave behind when he retired a few days ago? With this and the July shootings in mind, what are your hopes for the future of the Dallas Police Department, and the Dallas community as a whole? How will we amend this tragedy?
Chief Brown was a huge advocate of community policing during his tenure as police chief. I believe his leadership immediately after the July 7th shootings coupled with the tremendous amount of work that was done to build trust between the community and the department resulted in the remarkable amount of support that was shown across all segments of our community. I believe it is the hope of us all that we continue to strengthen the relationship between the department and citizens and ultimately create safer communities for everyone to enjoy.