In a rare conversation with U.S. Attorney Lorretta Lynch, a few students from Sunset High School got a chance to talk about community and police relationships.

The students were handpicked by teachers for the discussion. Sunset High School was the first stop on Lynch’s National Community Policing Week tour.

Senior and student athlete Don Hartley was among the teens asked to attend the youth discussion.
Hartley said, ”I think it’s important that the police know that we are human beings, and I think it’s important that we know the police are human beings as well.”

The conversation in the library of Sunset High School included a couple of Dallas Police cadets, teachers, and Jason Whitten and Barry Church of the Dallas Cowboys. The group shared thoughts with Lynch about police maters in and around Dallas.

”When you talk about community policing, it is work that takes time,” Lynch explained. “It is work that begins before there is a tragedy, or before there is a difficult situation.”

Hartley and his classmates shared personal stories, and explained how social media plays a role when it comes to how communities and officers are perceived.

“Dallas has always been a city that has worked on this issue,” Lynch told the group.

Lynch’s not only praised Dallas Police Department’s training and community engagement efforts, she also announced nearly $119 million in grant awards from the Depart of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to police departments across the country for community engagement efforts. The money will be used to help hire or retain police officers.

The Dallas Police Department is receiving more than $3 million to hire 25 officers. Arlington Police Department has been awarded $1.8 million for 15 officers. Carrollton Police Department is getting $250,000 for two additional officers. Glenn Heights Police has been awarded $125,000 for an additional officer.

Lynch is in Dallas through Tuesday evening. She's scheduled to attend a National Night Out event at University of North Texas at Dallas.