HUMBLE, Texas - The Harris County Sheriff's Office hosted a Town Hall at the Lighthouse Church in Humble on Wednesday night.
Community members were invited to voice their concerns, while the department shared information on current programs to support the community.
"It's an opportunity for us to get out and dialogue with the community," said Sheriff Ron Hickman, standing before the meeting among display tables of department program materials.
The event is part of the department's regularly scheduled monthly town halls, which rotate locations throughout Harris County.
In the meeting, topics discussed included a new program that will partner medical students into local jails to increase mental health services, and the issue of getting deputies out of their vehicles and interacting face-to-face with residents.
Today's event comes amid several days of national outcry over police-involved shootings in Charlotte, NC and Tulsa, OK. Sheriff Hickman says communication and events like today's help Harris County maintain a positive relationship between law enforcement and community.
"The person you that you're dealing, with on both sides, it's just a human being. The moment you become confrontational they probably will too, and that's a challenge that we have as officers - trying to find other ways to reassure and calm people down so we don't have to go with lethal force," said Hickman.
Earlier this week, the Sheriff met with the Houston Ministers Against Crime. One of the members was in attendance tonight, saying their meetings give him confidence in law enforcement.
"We have some problems," said Rev. Joe P Hubbard of the Houston Ministers Against Crime, "but we know how to handle our problems. We go to the source, and sit at the table and discuss it."
Pastor Keioth Henderson of the Lighthouse Church shared that confidence, saying, "none of us are responsible for the actions of a few people who badly represent any group of people."
Regarding the turmoil in other cities where law enforcement and community are at odds, Pastor Henderson adds, "we have to stop talking at each other and start talking to each other. Perhaps when that happens we can find some common ground."