Lupe Valdez, the openly gay sheriff of Dallas County, called community outreach paramount for her deputies when she took the stage Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention.
“We attend all sorts of events,” Valdez said, listing Ramadan, Cinco de Mayo, Pride and others.
“You name it, we show up,” she said. “Some of my officers are uncomfortable at first. But the only way to serve your community is to know your community.”
In Dallas, five officers lost their lives while trying to keep people safe during a protest, Valdez told the crowd.
“It’s been a tough time for law enforcement communities,” she said. “I’ve been trying to make some kind of sense out of it, but violence is not the answer.”
Valdez said it’s time for police and communities to actively listen to each other’s needs and experiences.
She said she sees hope for healing in Dallas. Last week, she went to dinner and at least four tables offered to pay her tab.
“My girlfriend and I teared up,” Valdez said. “There wasn’t a single person in that restaurant that I personally knew. The people of Dallas know that even though our men and women in uniform are hurting, they never stop doing the job.”