The sniper attack that killed five police officers in Dallas has prompted public reaction in communities across the nation. One such event occurred just before noon Friday in downtown Lexington. The event took place just outside the police station door.
Lexington police officers were advised to pull off the road at 11:45 and turn on emergency lights for one minute. The mayor, police chief, and president of the NAACP bowed their heads for a moment of silence.
Police Chief Mark Barnard and his officers were already preparing to say goodbye to Det. Phillip Harrison who, at 52, died of pancreatic cancer this week. 42-year-old firefighter Matt Logsdon also lost his battle to cancer Wednesday. The chief said the Dallas police shootings is another blow to the law enforcement community, “We will suffer along with other law enforcement communities, but we will do our jobs. We will respond to the people that need us, we’ll be more vigilant.” “I hope people will understand that. We’ll be more cautious,” noted Barnard.
The victims in Dallas were officers working during a peaceful protest of fatal shootings by police of African-Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota. Following Lexington’s moment of silence, Chief Barnard admitted he worries about the safety of his officers, “A tremendous amount of concern because of what you have seen in Dallas. And, we don’t know exactly, and the FBI in Dallas don’t exactly have all that information so we’re still waiting to receive some debriefing on that.”
Joining the chief and mayor was local NAACP President William Saunders. He anticipates more societal friction, but says it’s important to gather together, “Our people are frustrated, we’re beyond frustration. And so, it seems as though we’re gonna begin acting out, but we don’t want that to happen. So, we want to reinterate, we want you to see what’s really going on, that there’s definitely a relationship that has been established between our group NAACP, Lexington Police Department.” “We’re not on a buddy, buddy system, but, we’re working to deal with issues that we’re dealing with today,” explained Saunders.
On his lunch break, James Johnson said relations between police and the community in Lexington are much better than in other parts of the country. He doesn’t think the Dallas police death will cause any more friction than already exists.
Just a block from the public tribute, Lexington resident Cherray Meyers said there’s a continuing conversation in communities all over that needs focus, “It seems that, from the highest level up, down, that nobody is really coming to the room with the right conversation of solving the problem.”
Also passing by about the same time were two men. When stopped, they preferred not to be interviewed, but as they walked away, one of them, Adam yelled back over this shoulder, “Pray for all the hurt ones.”