With tensions still high in the days after an Army veteran shot and killed five police officers during a protest in Dallas, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said police officers across the country are feeling the strain of their jobs.
"This is a time of great pressure on our officers," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "There's always pressure on American police officers, danger. But good news is that American police, the American police profession is a strong profession that has been going through profound changes over the last 20 years. Constant improvement in their training. Constant improvement in use of force."
Because of those advances and a "relatively peaceful" few years in New York, Bratton said what happened in Dallas came as a complete surprise.
"Did we see it coming? No," he said. "But in policing, you always plan for the worst, hope for the best. Dallas was beyond anybody's ability to speculate about or even think about."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, appearing with Bratton on "Face the Nation," said there do not appear to be any ties between shooter Micah Xavier Johnson and terrorist organizations--and that his own stated objective was to "kill white people."
"We do know from [Dallas Police] Chief Brown that this individual apparently told the hostage negotiator that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. I think that's almost a quote," Johnson said. "And so this is obviously a terrible act. Appears to have been targeted at police officers, particularly white police officers."
Bratton said the key to easing tensions between police officers and the public is having officers that come from the communities they police.
"We don't bring them in from Mars. They come from the communities they police," he said. "And over the years increasingly we've had much more diversity in policing, Muslim officers, increasing numbers of African American officers, Latino officers. And that's a good thing because the community wants to see that and that's part of the way we bridge the divide that currently exists between police and community."
The best way to find a balance between protecting people and protecting personal freedoms, Johnson added, is through "effective community policing."
"The balance is best struck when you have effective community policing - where the law enforcement officer, the peace officer, is regarded as - as a friend in a lot of neighborhoods," he said. "See a lot of that happening here in New York City, I've seen that in other cities as well."