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Mayor, community leaders lead prayers over Dallas killings

The city’s news conference about the Dallas shooting took a spiritual note Friday afternoon as Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo Police Chief Daniel Derenda, U.S. Attorney William Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz joined hand - and hearts - to pray with three spiritual leaders in Western New York.

The news conference was in response to a request by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to pray for his city.

“We’re praying for Your justice,” said Reverend James Giles of Back to Basics Ministries.

Addititional prayers from leaders of various faiths asked God for peace, justice, understanding and protection not only for the families and friends of those afflicted by the killing spree, but also for members of the black community that were, and are, affected by shootings.

“The mayor urged Buffalo citizens to come together, as one community, and work to make Buffalo a safe and peaceful place.

“We must stop this constant cycle of violence, which leaves us - at the end of every day - counting the death of innocent lives,” he said.

The mayor said that he will continue to meet with local organizations, like the Buffalo PeaceMakers, to work with the community about their safety needs.

“It is constant work. It’s consistent work,” he said. “It’s something we do everyday.”

The police chief said the department has been receiving numerous threats from individuals seeking to harm, and even shoot, police officers.

As a result, officers are being asked to travel in pairs per car while on duty.

While off-duty, police officers are also asked to abstain from wearing any police official signifiers and to bring a firearm for protection.

Officials also said that extra security efforts have been taken to ensure that the Taste of Buffalo event tomorrow remains a safe and peaceful one.