In wake of Ferguson, police try to build trust

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In wake of Ferguson, police try to build trust
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Eighty-eight-year-old Creola McCalister joins other demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: A capacity crowd gathers at Greater St. Marks Family Church along with the family of Michael Brown and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the killing of brown and the civil unrest resulting from his death on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators hold up an African American Flag during a protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Protesters sit on a curb Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Racial tensions have run high in in the predominantly black city of Ferguson, following the shooting death by police of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protesters yell at police Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The Rev. Al Sharpton pressed police Tuesday to release the name of the officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in suburban St. Louis, and he pleaded for calm after two nights of violent protests over the young man's death. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protesters line the street as police stand watch Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The Rev. Al Sharpton pressed police Tuesday to release the name of the officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in suburban St. Louis, and he pleaded for calm after two nights of violent protests over the young man's death. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Eric Davis, a cousin of Michael Brown, speaks during an interview Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protesters hold up signs along a road Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Racial tensions have run high in in the predominantly black city of Ferguson, following the shooting death by police of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators hold up a Pan-African flag to protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Eighty-eight-year-old Creola McCalister joins other demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Eric Davis, a cousin of Michael Brown, speaks during an interview Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Racial tensions have run high in in the predominantly black city of Ferguson, where crowds have looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted police after following the shooting death by police of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Police take up position to control demonstrators who were protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: A tear rolls down the cheek of Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown, during a community meeting held at Greater St. Marks Family Church to discuss the killing of her son and the civil unrest resulting from his death on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Lesley McSpadden (L), the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown joins a capacity crowd of guests at Greater St. Marks Family Church to discuss the killing of her son and the civil unrest resulting from his death on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CORRECTS CITY TO JENNINGS- Lesley McSpadden, the mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, wipes away tears as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds up a family picture of himself, his son, top left, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, left, delivers remarks as Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson listens during a news conference Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., where the men addressed issues surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson police Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Brown died following a confrontation with police, according to Belmar. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson talks with the media in downtown Ferguson, Mo. Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Protesters marched along the street in front of the town's police headquarters to protest the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officers. Brown died following the confrontation with police. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the parents of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden, right, and Michael Brown Sr., left, during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Brown Jr., 18, who was unarmed, was shot to death Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Brown Sr., listens to speakers during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Brown's son Michael, 18, who was unarmed, was shot to death Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FILE - In this July 19, 2014 file photo Esaw Garner, center, wife of Eric Garner, breaks down in the arms of Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Rev. Rev. Al Sharpton, right, during a rally in New York. The shooting of an unarmed black teen by Ferguson, Mo., police over the weekend has drawn comparisons to high-profile racially charged deaths of black men and teens around the country. Garner died following a racially-charged incident that included amateur video, one showing an officer putting the 350-pound asthmatic in a choke hold after he refused to be handcuffed. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
A man holds up a piece of police tape during a protest Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The FBI opened an investigation Monday into the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times Saturday after being confronted by an officer in Ferguson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A makeshift memorial sits in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The FBI has opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Saturday whose death stirred unrest in a St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
People raise their hands in the middle of the street as police wearing riot gear move toward their position trying to get them to disperse Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The FBI opened an investigation Monday into the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times Saturday after being confronted by an officer in Ferguson. Authorities in Ferguson used tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse a large crowd Monday night that had gathered at the site of a burned-out convenience store damaged a night earlier, when many businesses in the area were looted. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, left, delivers remarks as Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson listens during a news conference, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., where the men addressed issues surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson police Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Brown died following the confrontation with police, according to Belmar. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)
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By NOMAAN MERCHANT and JIM SALTER

DALLAS (AP) - In the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, some police departments are renewing efforts to reach out to black communities to build trust - holding public meetings, fielding questions and letting people voice the anger they feel toward officers who patrol their neighborhoods.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown considers it a preventative step.

"I'd much rather they shout at me at a town hall meeting at a church and get to know me afterward than not have a relationship," Brown said. After a police shooting has already happened, "it's too late to try to establish relationships."

Dallas has had 14 police shootings so far this year, including one that happened early Wednesday. Nine people have been killed. That follows last year's tally of 22 shootings and six deaths, according to police.

To reassure the public, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins recently announced he would begin sending two prosecutors to independently investigate each police shooting.

Both Brown and Watkins are black and grew up in Dallas. Watkins described his own mistrust of law enforcement as a young man and said more needs to be done to restore public confidence in law-enforcement agencies, particularly among blacks and Latinos.

"This is a reality that we deal with in this country," Watkins said. "And until we face it, we're always going to have issues like Ferguson. I don't want to have the same thing happen here."

Two Dallas officers were recently fired and indicted for separate shootings of civilians.

To address the issue, the department is running a pilot program for so-called body cameras that could be mounted on officers' lapels or vests to capture footage of their interactions with the public. A recent Cambridge University study showed that the cameras reduced the number of complaints against officers and the number of times officers used force in a yearlong trial with the police department in Rialto, California, a city of about 100,000 east of Los Angeles.

The Dallas department is also buying more Tasers to give officers a less-deadly option to subdue attackers, Brown said.

The fraught relationship between police and black residents was evident last week when a group of black protesters marched through south Dallas chanting the name of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot to death by a Ferguson officer.

The group calls itself the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, after one of the co-founders of the Black Panthers. About 30 people carried signs and long guns, which are permitted in most public places in Texas. Several protesters said their concerns went beyond Ferguson.

"A lot of people today are talking about Mike Brown," one of the group's organizers, Charles Goodson, told Dallas television station WFAA. "Mike Brown is not an isolated incident. We have many Mike Browns in the city of Dallas."

At a town hall meeting, the mother of a Dallas man killed by police confronted top law enforcement officials about what they were doing to protect civilian lives.

In Nashville, Tennessee, Police Chief Steve Anderson and several other law-enforcement and political leaders were part of a meeting last week that drew several hundred people, most of them black, to a Baptist church. Kansas City, Missouri, police have also begun a series of community forums where residents can meet with officers.

When a man died last month after being placed in a chokehold by officers on Staten Island, New York police moved quickly to contact community activists and Eric Garner's family, avoiding much of the unrest that affected Ferguson.

Less than two weeks after Brown was killed in Ferguson, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson went to the scene where two officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man. The 25-year-old suspect, like Brown, was black.

Dotson knelt under yellow crime-scene tape and went into a crowd that was gathering nearby and chanting "Hands up! Don't shoot!" a refrain that became popular in Ferguson.

"I said, 'I'm the chief of police. I work for you," Dotson said. He said he wanted to share what he knew with protesters so they could have "as complete a picture" as police.

Among the police departments planning changes is Ferguson itself.

The city said in a statement that it would "learn from this tragedy." The statement outlined a range of actions being explored, including hiring more black officers, raising money to buy dashboard and body cameras, working more closely with schools to provide better resources for young people and rebuilding the business district affected by rioting.

Malik Aziz, chairman of the National Black Police Association, which represents 80,000 African-American police officers, said what happened in Ferguson was "one of many wakeup calls. The alarms seem to be ringing louder."

"What people are saying is that they demand that police departments be open, transparent, establish trust," Aziz said. "They want to be heard. They want to be treated with respect, and they want police departments to be above reproach and to be the professionals we claim that we are."

___

Associated Press writers Tom Hays in New York and Bill Draper in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.

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