Law Enforcement Says Community Involvement Is Critical For Build - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Law Enforcement Says Community Involvement Is Critical For Building Trust

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In recent months, there have been peaceful and violent protests of police officers, after deadly officer involved shootings.  Officers have even been targets of violence, including the Dallas shooting which killed five officers.  Local law enforcement officials say that type of protest has not happened in northern Nevada, partly because of the relationship they build with the community.

"We have to have partnerships," Officer Ken Gallop, Sparks Police Department said. "We have to have relationships. We have to have a community that supports us and works with us."

Gallop says that support is necessary to build a successful police department.  Along with the Sparks Police Department, the Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, and Nevada Highway Patrol all participate in different events to build that trust with the people they serve.  There have been three deadly officer involved shootings in the last two months, in the Reno-Sparks area.  All four agencies have been affected.  When they happen, officials say the community is more understanding because of communication and community involvement.

"Each and everyone of us is human but we all have a job to do and I think it's important that you put a personality with the uniform," Sheriff Chuck Allen, Washoe County Sheriff's Office said.

On Monday, Washoe County Sheriff's Office and Nevada Highway Patrol staff teamed up to serve lunch at Texas Roadhouse.  The event raises money for the Special Olympics.  It comes one day after the Sparks Police Department held a community barbecue at Shadow Mountain Park.

"We actually do more than just law enforcement," Trooper Ron Larson, Nevada Highway Patrol said. "They see the other side of us, kind of like the human side of us, that we actually give back."

"We're constantly looking for ways to improve, not only our communication but improve and foster our relationships, which establishes trust and continues to build that in our community," Gallop said.

Allen says using deadly force is the last thing an officer wants to do, but says different situations require different levels of action.

"It's almost always the aggressor who dictates the level we need to step up to," Allen said.

Last Friday, members of NHP and WCSO were involved in a shooting, in Stead, after a 40 minute pursuit.  The driver was killed and a deputy was injured.  The passenger was taken into custody.  Last month, investigators say a man was killed by a Reno Police Officer, while trying to drive through a barrier towards a crowd at the Biggest Little Wing Festival.  Another shooting happened in Sparks, when a man pointed a gun at officers. He did not survive.  When these incidents happen, officials say it is important to be transparent, making communication an important factor.

"I believe that we have trust in our community," Gallop said.

The sheriff says he is always looking for ways to meet people in the community, including holding an open house at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, September 29.

"We're opening our doors to the community, so people can come into our house and ask those questions," Allen said.

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