As the nation reels from the sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded seven others and two civilians, Dallas Police Chief David Brown vowed Friday that the senseless violence wouldn’t change the city’s community relations efforts.

“We won’t militarize our policing standards, but we will do it in a much safer way,” Brown said at a press conference. “We are not going to let a coward who would ambush police officers change our democracy. Our city, our country, is better than that.”

By many accounts, the Dallas Police Department is a national example for other cities looking to work with protesters and the larger community to reduce violence.

After the department began training officers in de-escalation tactics, excessive-force complaints plummeted from 147 in 2009 to 53 in 2014. Along with that, notes BuzzFeed News, the city’s overall rate of arrests has declined, along with the murder rate, which hit an 80-year low in 2014.

Prior to Thursday’s violence, Dallas police officers were posing for pictures with the protesters. “We actually felt like they were protecting us,” said one demonstrator, DeMaria LaForte.

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