DALLAS — Saturday marked two years since a sniper opened fire in downtown Dallas, killing five police officers. But for many, the memory is still fresh.
“For me, it feels like it was just yesterday,” said Dallas Police Sgt. Willie Ford. “Each officer is different [and] each person is different; it’s not just the officers, but anybody who was out there has a different timeline for getting to a point where they can deal with it.
“We understand that every day we come to work there’s some potential for us as individuals to be hurt or even be killed, however that event wasn’t something that you would ever imagine. That’s not something that you get trained for. Those are not things you expect every day.”
Last year the Texas House named July 7 “Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day” to recognize all officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Multiple events were held around Dallas to honor its own, including the Officer Down Foundation holding its annual Officer Down Motorcycle Ride with citizen supporters to raise money for injured officers and the families of those who fell. This year’s ride ended with a private screening of the comedy film “Uncle Drew” to give people a laugh on an otherwise difficult day.
“The Officer Down Foundation just wants officers and anybody that comes out to just relax,” said Ford, who is also the CEO of the foundation.
It was also a chance for cops and common folk to come together and keep working to bridge their occasional divide. Ford says relations between the police and community have improved since the tragedy, and he hopes that will be the real lasting impact.
“Some of the public that didn’t understand the struggles and the stress and things that we go through have a different perspective on that now, and we also have a different perspective of how the public thinks of us. So from that standpoint we have a stronger relationship.
“You have to find the positives in what occurred, and that definitely is a positive.”