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San Diego Police Chief, Local Activists Respond To Dallas Police Attack

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San Diego Reacts To Attack On Dallas Police Officers
San Diego Reacts To Attack On Dallas Police Officers GUESTS:Shelley Zimmerman, chief, San Diego Police Department Rev. Shane Harris, president, San Diego chapter of the National Action Network Andre J. Branch, president, San Diego branch of the NAACP

Our top story a midday edition, Dallas police say they have three suspects in custody after the deadly ambush last night that left five police officers dead. Seven other officers were wounded along with two civilians. One shooter was killed by police after negotiations broke down. The shootings occurred at the end of a peaceful protest against police use of deadly force. To fatal police shootings of black men this week have sparked protests against the nation. To discuss his tragic sequence of events, I spoke with San Diego police chief Sally Zimmerman. Thanks for having me. This is a sad time for the entire law enforcement community. Have you reached out to the Dallas police? First of all we want to say that all of our thoughts. The San Diego Police Department and prayers are with those whose lives have been shattered by these terrible and senseless crimes. I would tell you that all of us in law enforcement are showing our support and certainly standing with the Dallas Police Department and all of our officers here are wearing mourning bands and flags are flying at half mast. The news last night was completely devastating. We were talking with our officers last night. We have additional resources that are out because of the senseless and terrible acts against our homeless. Many officers last night, we were talking with officers about the time it was happening. We were standing there watching the news and looking at it in disbelief. I want everyone in San Diego to know that all of our officers here, we are completely committed. We took an old protect and serve in that continue to guard every single day and where our badge in uniform with pride and go out to make sure our community is safe and that is what we will continue to do every single day. When you talked earlier about the trouble in recruiting officers, one of the things you talked about was a general climate of what's going on. Can you be more specific now? Is there any hostility your officers have face from the public? We do talk about that with our recruiting and retention and our numbers are down about 25% this year. A lot of the reasons why is the climate and the anti-law enforcement and the anti-police sentiment that's going on. A lot of individuals and their families are saying pick a different profession. We do not want you to be a police officer. We are scared for you as to what you face every single day. I will also tell you that since what is happened last night in Dallas, countless phone calls and text messages, emails from our community showing support to our Police Department. I'm going to ask our community to continue to do that. If you see one of my officers or any law enforcement officer out there, give them a thumbs up and tell them that you appreciate what they do every single day to keep our community safe. That is needed now more than ever. How would you characterize the relationship between San Diego police in the black community in San Diego? Our community policing philosophy is we work together with all of our communities. We talk a lot about public safety is a responsibility between our Police Department and community which we so probably serve. That is what we continue to do. We put out a quarterly community policing report and you can take a look at that report on our website where every quarter we have more than 1100 events that we attend. In all areas of our community. We have more than 340 square miles in our city. It is something we take very seriously. I read that some police departments across the nation that usually have single patrol officers are doubling up. Chicago, Las Vegas, and a couple of other cities. What is the status in San Diego? Are you taking precautions? We did team up our officers last night. We did that for a couple of recent. Number one, being vigilant and heightened awareness and also to make sure you had a partner in give you someone to talk went through the night. That was very helpful. I know our officers very much appreciated that. We take a look at situational awareness. Just on a conference call across the nation regarding the situation in Dallas and what they may need for other police departments across the country. It is something that we do have heightened awareness and we are asking our officers to be vigilant. We ask our public for their support. If you see something or hear something or know something, please don't hesitate to say something. Public safety is a shared responsibility and we all have a crucial role to play that we make sure we keep our city safe. Obviously, trust has been broken between police and many members of the black community across the nation. Now trust has been broken when it comes to safety of police. Who is responsible to restore that trust? This is something we talk about often. You continue to have that discussion every single day. When you say who was responsible, when we talk about public safety. That public safety is a shared responsibility. A lot of protest here in San Diego that we handle, people may not know this, but we handle the protest every single day. The vast majority of the people to go out and protest they are exercising their First Amendment right to do that. Free speech to assemble and we help facilitate that. We have excellent dialogue for the most part between the groups that we speak with. At any given time, anyone could go through approaches -- a protest. They have plain evil intentions and they want to go out and hope -- and cause harm. One last question about that are still referred to. The arrest of a man suspected in the murders and attacks against homeless men in San Diego. What can you tell us about that? We have worked extremely hard and we did make an arrest yesterday. We have probable cause to arrest Mr. pageant. We still have a considerable amount of work that is yet to be done. We have more witnesses to interview. We have a lot of evidenced -- evidence to process. We have not been able to determine if he is responsible for other attacks that have occurred on our homeless. We have additional resources out there and again, we ask our public that if you know anything about the murders or anything about those other attacks, please come forward and give what you know to our Police Department. I have been speaking with Shellie Zimmerman. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. The killing of five Dallas law enforcement officers during a peaceful protest over police shootings has learned that the curved into the national discussion of police violence. In San Diego a rally is plant tomorrow to protest the fatal shootings this week of Alton Stirling in Baton Rouge and Fernando Castile in St. Paul Minnesota. Reverend Shane Harris President of the San Diego chapter of the national action network joined us yesterday to talk about the rally. Today I asked him if the events in Dallas are changing his plans. No. We are not changing our plans for the rally that we have plans already. The plan is actually to call for the violence to stop. We have never changed our message. Police killed black people killed, white people kill. We have never changed our message. We do not condone violence and we do not condone that kind of action. We believe in God and we believe and strategy. That is what we're going to lay out a plan and a strategy. We will not condone violence. Are you taking any new precautions to make sure everyone stays safe tomorrow? Yes. We are going to reach out. We definitely have our security force that is going to be in full of fact. We are going to do a mass reach out to San Diego police chief Sandy -- Shellie Zimmerman. I will notify her to make sure she knows about our rally. Our rally is, I want to be clear, our rally is to deal about the deaths of the two black men. We will be calling in Edmund Jordan. I will, in my key know, deal with the reality that weather as police, citizens, whoever it is, nobody and I mean nobody should be condoning violence. We do not condone violence. We believe in strategic engagement and planning. We do not believe in violence. I have been speaking with Reverend Shane Harris. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. That rally is planned for 10 AM tomorrow at Ebenezer missionary Baptist Church. There is a reality -- a rally planned tonight in city Heights at 6 PM. Joining me now is Dr. André branch. Dr. branch, welcome back. It's a sad day. It is. Whenever we have to be confronted with senseless killings it is a very sad day. The suspected shooter who was killed by police in Dallas allegedly said he wanted to kill white people specifically white police officer's. Decembers was a pet -- apparently sparked by the killing this week of two black men by police. Are we in danger now of a spiral of violence between black and white? I don't think so. I think the vast majority of African-American people in this country more and when African-Americans are senselessly killed by police officers. We also mourn when police officers are killed. We don't condone violence and retribution for problems that African-Americans have with police officers. This includes the death of African-American people at the hands of police officers. That is not an appropriate response. It will never be an appropriate response. How would you characterize the level of frustration within the African-American community over the years or what one might say miss use of deadly force by police? The level of frustration is high. African-Americans have been concerned about excessive use of force for some time. Nationally we have called for an end to racial profiling. And into excessive use of force. And we have called for that for a number of years now. We see that African-Americans, just last year were killed at twice the rate of white people by police officers. These and other statistics caused the frustration level to rise quite a bit. I think African-Americans will respond in an appropriate way working with police departments, working with elected officials, to strategize, to brainstorm appropriate responses to these senseless killings. Last night one shooter created chaos and tragedy while hundreds of other people were peacefully protesting against violence. Even so, do you think there is a chance to murders of police officers will set back the cause of black lives matter or other groups who are protesting police shootings? I don't think that the action of the individual who killed these five police officers and injured others should be connected at all with black lives matter. That movement operates peacefully. The shooter who killed those police officers last night and injured others, interrupted a peaceful demonstration. That individual had nothing to do with that peaceful demonstration. The peaceful demonstrations that move forward with black lives matter and other such groups, I do not think we should get it twisted. Violence that is bench full has anything to do with appropriate and peaceful rallies. Finally, Dr. branch, how are you going to be bringing this message? Do you have any special meetings planned? In reaction to this week's events? The NAACP had his general membership meeting last night. We discussed this matter. The NAACP is joining with the San Diego black police officers Association to have a panel in which we help young people understand appropriate behavior when they are encountered by police officers. We also want to help train police officers on the police force in appropriate behavior when they encounter people who are racially and ethnically different than themselves. I've been speaking with Dr. branch of the San Diego chapter of the NAACP . Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

The day after a sniper attack in Dallas left five officers dead and seven injured, San Diego Police Department’s flags were flown at half-staff. Its officers wore black bands.

“We were standing there watching the news and looking at it in disbelief,” San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told KPBS Midday Edition on Friday.

The department temporarily instituted two-officer-only patrols Thursday night as a precaution.

RELATED: Dallas Police Officers Killed By Snipers: What We Know Friday

“What I want everybody in San Diego to know is that all of our officers here, we're completely committed. We took an oath to protect and serve. And they went out last night and continue to go out every single day and wear our uniform with pride, our badge with pride and to go out and make sure that our community is safe,” Zimmerman said. “And that's what we're going to continue … every single day.”

The chief thinks the department’s struggle to keep officers — she said staffing is down about 25 percent — is partly caused by an anti-law enforcement climate.

“But I will also tell you, since what has happened last night in Dallas, is that countless phone calls and text messages and emails from our community offering support and showing support to our Police Department,” Zimmerman said.

The San Diego chapter of the National Action Network intends to coordinate with Zimmerman to ensure the safety of attendees of the rally it had already planned for Saturday. The group organized the event in response to the police killings this week of two African-American men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

“The plan is actually to call for the violence to stop,” the Rev. Shane Harris, the chapter’s president, told Midday Edition. “We have never changed our message.”

Andre Branch, the president of the San Diego chapter of the NAACP, also spoke on Midday Edition against violence.

“I think the vast majority of African-American people in this country mourn when African-Americans are senselessly killed by police officers. We also mourn when police officers are killed,” Branch said.

He added that the individual responsible for the attacks in Dallas should not be linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“That movement operates peacefully,” Branch said. “The shooter who killed those police officers last night and injured others interrupted a peaceful demonstration. … I don't think we should get it twisted that violence that is vengeful have anything to do with appropriate and peaceful rallies.”