Dallas County Sheriff Reacts To Fatal Shooting Of 5 Police Officers
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
And we're joined now by Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. She has been in that role for 11 years, and she's worked closely with Police Chief Brown and the Dallas Police Department. Thank you for joining us.
LUPE VALDEZ: Good afternoon.
SHAPIRO: Well, I understand you were in the emergency operation center last night. Take us through the events overnight from your perspective.
VALDEZ: Well, the emergency event center - all it does is brings all of the different things together. You're talking about fire and police and rescue units and emergency units and all of this. All we do is try to bring it together. So, of course, the center is going to be very active. Fortunately for us, we had from federal assistance all the way down to the local school district - there were all wanting to come in and help, so it was a pretty active place.
SHAPIRO: And as the shooting was unfolding, what was your role?
VALDEZ: Well, I have a whole bunch of officers out there, and, of course, we want to make sure that communication goes both ways between my officers to DPD and from DPD to my officers. So basically it was connecting and overseeing some of our work within assisting DPD.
SHAPIRO: So I understand there were 30 maybe 35 of your people on the streets among the Dallas Police Department officers. None of your people, thankfully, were killed. What was their role as this was all unfolding?
VALDEZ: Well, they were a support role. The DPD was there first, and as they started to clear the area, they needed folks to make sure it was - it remained clear. So we were not only perimeter security making sure that nobody came in and out - or rather in - and as they left, they couldn't come back in, and, of course, any kind of assistance that was necessary. It's amazing how many little things come up when you're going through some fast crises.
SHAPIRO: Do you think the officers working the rally could have had better equipment or better training for what they encountered last night?
VALDEZ: You know, you can never Monday morning quarterback some of these things. We - officers thrive in crisis. That's what our job is. You know, we do other things, you know, traffic and stuff like that, but when there's a crisis, we're the ones running toward the action.
So officers thrive in crisis. And I think - and I'm not going to criticize anybody for whatever they tried to do at that moment - I think what is important is that the individuals that were not supposed to be there were eventually taken out.
SHAPIRO: For future rallies, do you think it would be wise for officers to wear riot gear, for example?
VALDEZ: Well, what would that do to the protesters? We're - Dallas is very good about trying to keep good communication between the protesters and us. There's been times when people with riot gear are out of the scene, but not around the scene. And we're not at that point anymore. I think we can handle anything that comes up by just communicating and taking immediate action around whatever's trying to get out of place. But you put people in riot gear, you're saying we're expecting you to misbehave, so we're ready for you...
VALDEZ: ...And I don't - I'm not comfortable with that.
SHAPIRO: Is there any conversation you had with an officer who was on duty last night that's really going to stick with you?
VALDEZ: I think - what I hear a lot and what I feel is - or what I've said a lot today - at some point, I'm going to cry. But right now I'm too busy. Right now we need to take care of things. But I think that's important for all of us. At some point, it's going to hit us. But right now we're just, as I said, we're good at crisis. We react. We do what needs to be done.
SHAPIRO: Well, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, I'm sorry for what you've gone through, and I appreciate your joining us.
VALDEZ: Thank you very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.