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Leon County Officials Call For Unity Following Shootings In Dallas

Kate Payne/WFSU

Leon County law officials are calling for unity following the killings of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

The five officers were gunned down at an otherwise peaceful protest about the killings of two black men who died at the hands of police. The events are shaking the country, and spurring local officials, law enforcement and pastors to talk about race and criminal justice.  Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood acknowledges officer-involved shootings across the country impact public trust at the local level.

“I would be devastated to see anything ill occur to the place as a result of the things that have occurred throughout the nation. I would hope that we would be the standard bearer and demonstrate that we are in fact a diverse community that cares about one another, that understands our differences and is prepared to talk about them,” Wood said.

“Our credibility as law enforcement, we establish that credibility on a daily basis, on encounter at a time.”

Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo says his force is actively working on community outreach.

“We had a community policing forum, just last night. It wasn’t something that was scheduled last minute, it was scheduled months ago. We do them on almost a biweekly basis,” DeLeo said.

County Commissioner Curtis Richardson calls officer-involved shootings all too common.

"My heart is heavy today given the events of not only these past 72 hours, but these past several years. We've seen too many of these incidents occur in communities throughout our nation now. And its time for us to say as a nation that is time for it to stop," Richardson said.

Officials hope to learn from the unrest, and build understanding between police and the public.