UPDATE (WKOW) -- Madison city leaders are coming together to support Dallas police and officers here in our community after the attack on police Thursday.
Mayor Paul Soglin, Police Chief Mike Koval and other community leaders met to talk about the pain all communities are feeling after the tragedy in Dallas and how Madison can come together, despite differences over police department policies that have come out in frustrations and protests in recent weeks. The group held a moment of silence and Soglin talked about how the city will continue efforts to support officers.
"We are going to continue to work on becoming the best department, the best city in the U.S. in terms of practices," Soglin says. "We are going to work on hosting facilitated conversations with all members of the community and we're going to continue to work with our city employees and particularly the police department and their family & friends."
Soglin says the city's Employee Assistance Program, which offers counseling and support to city workers who need it, has been busy Friday helping both officers and their family members struggling to cope with the attacks.
Alder Barbara McKinney is asking the community to pray for Dallas. Her church, Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church on the east side of Madison, is opening its doors at noon Saturday to remember those who lost their lives.
"We are at a decisive window where we're not just saying black lives matter, we're saying all lives matter," McKinney says. "When there is a loss, regardless of what that means or how that happened, there are families involved and there is a ripple effect of that pain that has a hard time healing, so we have an opportunity here in this community to not only pray for our own healing, but we get an opportunity to pray for those ripple effects of pain in Dallas."
City leaders say they want to continue creating opportunities for the community to talk with police about the challenges they're dealing with here in Madison and to develop a better understanding of each other peacefully.
MADISON (WKOW) --- Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and the Madison City Council released a statement on the Dallas officer shootings:
We stand with the people of Dallas, their municipal officials led by Mayor Mike Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown, as they mourn the loss of lives of their dedicated colleagues. Our heart and sympathy are with the families, fellow officers, and the friends of those murdered. We continue to support all in Madison, our own officers, and those around this country who feel the pain as we take a step back in our efforts to create universal peace and justice.
The police officers in Dallas were doing what they and all police officers do every day - protecting our rights, the right to peacefully assemble, and keep us safe.
The sniper attacks, brutally murdering five officers and wounding several others, and civilians, marks a horrible stain on our country.
We are conveying this message to Mayor Mike Rawlings to express our condolences and that of the residents of Madison as they investigate this horrendous attack.