Local leaders, law enforcement react to Dallas police shootings

Local leaders, law enforcement react to Dallas police shootings
The American flag is at half staff at Cincinnati City Hall Friday. (FOX19 NOW/Shawn Lanier)
The American flag is at half staff at Cincinnati City Hall Friday. (FOX19 NOW/Shawn Lanier)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Local leaders and law enforcement are reacting on social media to the shootings of 12 police officers in Dallas, including five who have died.

The City of Cincinnati leaders say they are stunned and saddened by the tragic events that took place in Dallas.

All City of Cincinnati flags will remain at half-staff until further notice, according to officials.

Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black and Police Chief Eliot Isaac have issued a joint statement regarding the situation.

"First and foremost, we want to express our condolences to the City of Dallas and all the families affected by this senseless tragedy.

Several are posting pictures to their Facebook accounts in support of officers in the Texas city. They also are turning to Twitter, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman.

Cincinnati Police Sgt. Dan Hils, president of the police union, said he will be wearing his bulletproof vest Friday ready to back up his co-workers if needed.

"Today, I was thinking about the contract and a hearing that I represented a member in," he wrote on Support The Blue With FOP #69 Facebook page. "Tomorrow, I will wear my vest and I will be ready to be with my fellow officers if there is trouble.

"Today, I was looking at videos and admitted that I had too little information to have an opinion. Tomorrow, I fear that I will hear more bad news about the officers in Dallas.

"Today, the officers in Dallas went to work with plans to return this evening. Tomorrow, those officers will not come home.

"Today, I was angry about the way we police officers have been treated.

"Tonight, I will pray for all of us and I will pray for America. Please pray with me."

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Mutterspaw reflected on the shootings occurring after videos surfaced during or after two fatal police shootings in as many days this week in Louisiana and Minnesota.

"Wanted to openly discuss what is going on in our country, specifically in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, Minnesota," he wrote on his agency's Facebook page late Thursday.

"These situations have weighed on me heavily. I've read every article, discussed with a lot of other officers and watched every second of the videos. The videos of these shootings have been played on every news station, social media outlet and online source that you can find. The videos are disturbing and sad. Anyone with a heart and even a bit of compassion has to feel horrible for both situations. It is easy for everyone to sit back and second guess the shootings and the police response when it comes to an event like this, but it is hard to watch these particular videos and not have a thousand questions. As someone who has taken calls just like that, my emotions ranged from anger to sadness to frustration. Now tonight police officers in Dallas have been shot and killed at a protest of these shootings. What purpose does that serve?

There are over 750,000 police officers and 318 million people in America. On average, there are about 1,100 people shot and killed by police a year. This means that less than 1 percent of all police officers in America are involved in a shooting death. Think about that. Less than 1 percent. The problem is that less than 1 percent, whether the shooting was justified or not, is all over the news immediately and posted all over. It gets worse when the shootings are questionable or just plain wrong. We work in one of the few professions where something can happen 2,000 miles away and it affects us here on a daily basis. In most of these shootings, the police were called to a scene or pulled a car over and the person did not comply with an order or request. It is not popular to say, but it is a fact, in most of them. Always comply. If you feel you are being treated wrong, comply now, complain later.

What would happen if there was a shooting by an officer in Middletown? We have been very fortunate to not have to had to deal with that a lot. What we would do is seek outside investigation assistance. We would enlist the aid of the Butler County Prosecutor and most likely BCI (Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation). I believe for an investigation of that magnitude to be credible you have to hand it off to someone who is not you. We believe in transparency and to have that, you have to ask someone else ask to investigate something that serious.

Police agencies across the country need to really focus on training. Seems every time there is a budget cut, training is the first to go. That is not going to happen here. Last year we attended a Cultural Competency training - it wasn't about black and white. It was about everyone's differences and biases and how they affect your day to day thinking. Everyone is different and for some reason some can't understand that - and I am talking about civilians and police officers. Our goal here is to get everyone in Cultural Competency training - although a lot have been. We have a diverse police department and we are proud of that. I really believe it makes us better. We embrace it."

He said Middletown police have built great relationships in the city through a variety of programs and outreaches to the youth, Latinos and within churches.

"No law abiding community member should ever fear the police in this city. We haven't had problems that other cities have. We have some, but not of that magnitude. Come out to Coffee with a Cop next week and National Night Out in August. It is a great chance to ask questions and talk to us. We don't mind the tough questions - it is our job to answer them.

America is more divisive than I have ever seen it. It is torn. It has to stop. Good officers are here for you. Bad officers need to get out of the profession immediately. Good officers deserve good pay, good benefits and your support. Bad officers deserve a termination and maybe more. There is no magic formula to fix the problems. Police have to admit when we are wrong, just like you do when you are wrong. We just all need to take a deep breath, support each other, respect each other and appreciate the fact that we are all different for a reason.

The chief closed his note with "Sleep well Middletown."

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