WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be in North Texas today to kick off National Community Policing Week. Lynch will also announce Justice Department grants, totaling some $119 million, to help police departments across the country hire new officers. The grants will also allow for some departments to rehire, or prevent layoffs.READ MORE: Day 2 Of The State Fair Of Texas Brings Visitors Fun, Football & Fried Food
While the Attorney General is in town she will meet with some of the city’s top leaders. But her day will start hosting a forum with students at Sunset High School in Oak Cliff.
The goal is to highlight the need for strong relationships between communities and law enforcement, an especially urgent Justice Department priority in light of a months-long stretch of high-profile slayings of both police officers and citizens in not only Dallas but in communities including Baton Rouge, Charlotte and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
The sniper killings of five police officers in Dallas – after a peaceful Black Lives Matter march – is the reason the White House is launching the initiative here. Lynch also plans to meet with some of the families of the fallen police officers while in the city.
Attorney General Lynch said there is a “hunger” for a positive relationship with law enforcement. For Dallas the grant will mean some $3.1 million to create or preserve 900 jobs across the country – including 25 new positions in the Dallas Police Department.READ MORE: No Injuries Reported After Propane Tank Explosion At Texas Motor Speedway
Lynch will spend the next two days in North Texas talking about strengthening the relationship between police and the neighborhoods they serve. Tomorrow Lynch will join Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for a National Night Out event.
“It’s been tremendously heartening that Dallas has stuck together through all of that,” Lynch said. “I thought frankly it was just a tragic irony that in a community where you had police officers who were making sure that the protest went forward as planned and as authorized, that’s the city that someone chose to come to and try to sow dissension,” she added.
The recipients of the grants include large cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, Louisville and Charlotte, but also much smaller agencies in Biddeford, Maine, Twin Falls, Idaho and Carlisle, Iowa.
“Community policing is policing that’s based upon a connection between law enforcement and the community… the specific community that it is serving at that time,” Lynch explained. “Rebuilding the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities that we serve is one of my top priorities as Attorney General.”
Lynch said there’s broad agreement, including among protesters, about the need for an effective and responsive police department that keeps the community safe. But she said there’s a simultaneous demand from the public for departments that are accountable and transparent about their decisions.MORE NEWS: Officials: 2 Missing Texas Kids Found Alive After Being Kidnapped By Registered Sex Offender
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