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Local Officials Address Police Shooting Concerns

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Moments of passion punctuated a community meeting Monday evening about officer-involved shootings in Dallas.

Dallas police have shot and killed seven people so far this year -- more than in all of 2013. But law enforcement leaders said they want to avoid similar riots to the ones happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Three of Dallas County's top law enforcement officials were at the town hall meeting.

"We're not Missouri," Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins told the crowd inside St. Paul United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas. Watkins said he's creating a new unit to investigate police shootings.

"We need to restore the public trust and to do that we believe we need an independent voice from an independent agency," said Watkins.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown supports the idea."You can't have enough oversight," said Chief Brown. He told the crowd he plans to equip his officers with 200 body cameras to record their interactions with the public. The Dallas Police Department is also purchasing 2,000 tasers, giving officers an alternative to firing their weapons.

"I can assure you that I'm listening to every word you're saying," said Brown.

The Dallas Police Association has its own proposal for how the police department should investigate officer-involved shootings.

The association said it wants (among other things) to insert two assistant district attorneys and an FBI agent within DPD's special investigative unit to review the shootings.

They are asking that officers patrol in two person teams, which they said is safer.

The association is also in favor of giving Dallas officers body cameras as soon as possible.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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