Police work to improve public perception amid Baltimore situation

By Fox4News.com Staff

What’s happening in Baltimore is being felt by police departments across the country.

“I’ve had lots of conversations over the last two weeks with a lot of rank and file officers and officers are like this is not what I signed up for they’re looking to get out,” says Pete Schulte. “It’s that bad. In the 17 years I’ve been an officer, I’ve never seen morale this bad across the board.”

Pete Schulte is a Reserve Deputy and a criminal defense attorney is publicly saying what many police officers all across North Texas won’t say. That they believe they are now being perceived as public enemy number one.

“Certainly this is a seminal moment in the criminal justice system,” Judge Birmingham says.

State District Judge Brandon Birmingham says he too is increasingly seeing that “once” pristine public perception of police officers beginning to tarnish in jury pools.

“Everything from Trayvon Martin all the way up until Baltimore. Of course that is going to have a direct impact and jurors are telling us that on cases unrelated at all to police brutality, just in their feelings about the criminal justice system,” Judge Birmingham says.

“I think it speaks volumes that our citizens, the ones that have protested and things of that nature, they’re not throwing rocks and bottles, they’re not burning buildings to the ground,” says Chief Rick Watson of the Dallas Police. He’s the Commander of Dallas’ North Central Division and believes the way to polish police officers images is by having a diverse department and communication.

Every year Watson holds an open house of sorts where he and his officers meet and greet with the citizens within his division.

“We have to earn the communities respect and through that, I believe comes trust. And I mean that” Chief Watson adds.

For this event there are nearly 1,000 people coming together, easing fears and even making friends.

“Getting to know them, them getting to know us, but it’s us, earning their respect and it humanizes us with the community and they see hey! They’re just like us,” Chief Watson explains.

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