Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck called for an open dialogue on violence Friday at a department recruit graduation ceremony where he urged the class to show empathy and "look into people's hearts."
The graduation ceremony came just hours after the ambush shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers. LAPD officers wore black mourning bands in honor of the slain Dallas officers, gunned down in a sniper attack Thursday night during a protest against recent police shootings.
Beck called the killings a "tragedy beyond belief."
Local news from across Southern California
"I was overtaken by sorrow and rage," Beck said.
The ceremony with about 40 grads outside department headquarters honors new department recruits. Family members of the new LAPD officers also attended the event.
"It's a terrible incident," said graduate Hee Young Rim of the Dallas ambush. "My heart goes out to the families, their loved ones. It just inspires us to do a better job, to honor their names."
Graduates received flowers and other gifts as they took pictures with family and friends, but the usually celebratory event had a somber tone as officers remembered their slain colleagues.
Beck delivered an emotional speech to the recruits that touched on the violence in Dallas and the reaction to recent police shootings.
"You often will see people on the worst days of their lives," Beck said. "Have empathy. Try to look into people's hearts. Help them. Always, always give more than you take."
He called the attack a symbol of a breakdown.
"We have done what societies do when they're in trouble," Beck said. "We have separated. We have broken into tribes.
"We must move beyond that. This is not about black lives. This is not about brown lives. This is not about blue lives. This is about America.
"We are too violent as a society. It is time to put down our arms and start a dialogue."
Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti was later joined by rap artists The Game and Snoop Dogg, who were part of a peace march to LAPD headquarters earlier in the day.
"I was sad, I was angry, I had so many different emotions going through my body," said The Game, discussing his reactions to the shootings. "We need to take responsbility as a human race."
Snoop Dogg echoed the chief's comments about starting a conversation.
"Our whole mission today was to move in peace," Snoop Dogg said. "Not to bash the police, but to start some dialogue. Today was the first step to many steps."
Twelve officers and two civilians were shot, leaving five officers dead. During a standoff with police, a shooter told officer that he wanted to kill white people, especially white members of the law enforcement community.
That shooter, later identified as a 25-year-old Dallas man who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan in the Army Reserve, was killed during a standoff with officers.