Law enforcement, governor reactions to deadly Dallas shooting

Published: Jul. 8, 2016 at 1:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2016 at 3:47 PM CDT
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The Huntsville Police Department released a statement Friday morning in support of the Dallas Police Department after an attack on officers left five dead and six others injured while a protest was going on. 

The Huntsville Police Department is keeping the officers injured and killed in Dallas, as well as their families and the community, in their thoughts and prayers. “This was a tragic and senseless event for the officers as well as the community”, said Chief Mark McMurray.

Governor Robert Bentley also released a statement Friday morning asking all residents of Alabama to pray for peace and justice. 

“Alabamians are strong in love and in faith. As the people of our state have done on so many occasions, let us join our hearts together to pray for those who are hurting across our great nation. There are a number of local and state officials from our state traveling overseas on an economic development mission now". 

To read Governor Bentley's full statement click here

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely released an open letter to the community, calling for open relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve. 

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson also wrote his thoughts regarding citizens and police relations in the wake of recent events across the country. 

I am heartbroken to see stories from communities across this country where animosity and distrust have developed between citizens and officers. I, like many others, am highly concerned with this situation. Along with other Americans I watched news reports describing the horrific shootings in Dallas. My heart ached to see police officers who were protecting and serving their community being shot and gunned down.

On a more positive side, I saw where reporters interviewed many who had been exercising their constitutional right of free speech in a peaceful and lawful protest. I saw officers protecting these citizens and their freedom of speech. In a couple of reports, I saw officers posing for pictures with the protestors.  Most interviewed were saddened that what they intended to be a positive event evolved into a negative tragedy. In days to come we will learn more about the shootings. We will see wives, children and other family members of the officers in churches, in funeral possessions and at cemeteries, saying good bye to these public servants who were doing their job.

These families and the fellow officers in Dallas and across our country need our prayers. Your Athens Police Department needs your prayers as we work with you to have an open and respectful relationship between the City of Athens and her officers.

I believe public safety is the backbone of any community small or large. It is an essential part of our society as we know it. Your Police Department and those around the country are depended on to keep the streets, neighborhoods and communities safe. We are the first line of defense against evil. I want to let our citizens know we are devoted to you and our city, and we will continue to do the best we can to serve Athens.

Our department desires to work in and with our community. We have worked with youth and citizens of all ages and backgrounds through community meetings and activities to give us the opportunity to understand needs you have and to explain different aspects of our job. Over the Fourth of July weekend, your Athens police officers began distributing sports balls with our department logo and phone number and playing with the children of our city. The Athens Police Department initiated this program to show our youth that officers are part of this community and are here to help them, and to teach them how they can contact us in an emergency.

It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning.

As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective.

I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer. 

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Copyright 2016 WAFF. All rights reserved.