PHILADELPHIA, July 28 (UPI) -- Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, leading delegates in a moment of silence for the law enforcement officers killed there last month and pleading for greater understanding from residents and officers alike.
Valdez, the nation's only female Hispanic sheriff, said the only way for Americans, particularly those of color, to restore positive relationships with law enforcement is for both sides to have an open dialogue.
"We lost five officers in Dallas," Valdez said. "It's been a tough time for law enforcement communities all across America that have lost officers to violence. I've been trying to make some kind of sense out of it, but violence is not the answer. Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not going to do it."
Valdez said she sends deputies to participate in community events for all groups, from gay pride to Juneteenth and Cinco de Mayo, in order to get them to better know the residents they're sworn to protect -- even if they are events that might make an officer uncomfortable.
"Talking within your own group, using your own language ... goes nowhere. We have to start listening to each other. The only way to serve your community is to know your community," she said.
Valdez closed her speech leading delegates in a moment of silence for the officers killed in racially charged violence over the last several weeks.