Many people saw it unfold last night. Others are waking up to the horrible news. Last night 12 officers were shot in Dallas in the deadliest attack against law enforcement since 9/11. Five of those officers have died.

The men and women of the Cape Coral Police Department want to express our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who were gunned down.

It is a trying time in our nation for law enforcement/community relations. We don't have all the answers. We have said it before: We are so incredibly fortunate to enjoy a fantastic relationship with our citizens. Without that relationship, we would not be able to do what we do. Here at the Cape Coral Police Department we have created a number of programs that give the public an opportunity to meet our officers, learn about their police department, and even give back to our community: Ride-long/Sit-Along Program, Citizens Police Academy, Coffee With a Cop, Chief's Town Hall, Social Media Program, Police Explorers, and the Police Volunteer Unit to name a few. We have something for everybody.

The Cape Coral Police Department is made up of men and women who are diverse in background and reflect our community. We are also made up of people who are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters...each have sworn an oath to protect this community...each have families that they have a duty to return to safely after each and every shift.

In a time where the media sensationalizes stories related to police use of force to drive eyeballs to their broadcasts, sell papers, or get "clicks" and celebrities give a constant refrain of negative statements condemning law enforcement, it creates a toxic environment where we end up with deadly consequences, like what took place in Dallas last night. Building trust, creating a sense of community, and creating ownership so that citizens know that we are "their police" are more important now than ever.

The Cape Coral Police Department uses social media to open ourselves up to the community, build relationships, increase transparency, and help earn the public trust. We share the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. We ask that you continue to like, share, and comment on our posts, wherever you may connect with us online (even the stories we aren't so proud of) to help us build stronger relationships with our citizens.

Our thoughts & prayers are with our brothers and sisters at the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department.

About the author

Det. Sergeant Dana Coston is a 19 year law enforcement veteran who is assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police. He is the Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department.  He also serves as the Department's Webmaster and Social Media Manager, testing and evaluating platforms and technologies for use in the Cape Coral Police Department Social Media Program.

Det. Sergeant Coston previously served as a Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, Detective assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Patrol Sergeant, and Professional Standards Bureau Sergeant where he oversaw Personnel, Training, and Internal Affairs.  He is an instructor for the Cape Coral Police Department in the areas of baton, firearms, and Media Relations, and has instructed all over SW Florida on gang identification and prevention, and the application of Social Media in Law Enforcement.

Det. Sergeant Coston holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History from Emory University. He is a member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners and the National Information Officers Association.  He is a certified Gang Specialist, FBI Domestic Human Intelligence Collector, and was an adjunct instructor to the FBI Academy teaching human source recruitment.