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City Manager announces panel of national experts to conduct review of Police Department

8 Nov 2019 9:58 PM | Anonymous

City Manager David Cooke has selected a panel of national experts to review police department policies and practices and provide recommendations on changes the police department should implement to improve and retain public trust and confidence.

“First and foremost, I want to again express my complete confidence in Chief Kraus and the leadership team at the Fort Worth Police Department,” said City Manager Cooke. “To that end, I acknowledge that every organization can benefit from having an independent group of experts review policies and procedures to see where we can improve the work we do with, and for, our community.”

This expert panel has extensive knowledge and policing experience in areas including applications of procedural justice, investigative best practices, bias-based policing and use of force. They will conduct a rigorous and completely independent review of the police department.

“We were contacted by firms and individuals around the country who are recognized for this type of work,” said Cooke. “After a review of qualifications and experience, I believe we have assembled an excellent team to provide recommendations and best practices that will allow us to improve our police department and the way we work with all members of our community.”

The purpose for this review is to identify patterns and practices related to police interactions with the public during investigative stops, searches, arrests, de-escalation and use of force incidents. The panel will examine police policies, operational practices, training, documentation, accountability systems, corrective and reporting procedures, and technology applications. The review will include substantial interaction and listening sessions with community members, groups and police personnel.

Other areas the panel is expected to review include community policing and engagement, Internal Affairs complaints, recruiting, hiring and promotions, critical incident interactions within the mental health community, and interactions with youth.

The panel will be led by Dr. Theron L. Bowman and Dr. Alex del Carmen. Both experts, with strong local and national ties, who also have extensive police reform experience. Other panel members include:

Lynda Garcia – policing campaign director, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Emily Gunston – Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights Division deputy chief
Tom Petroski, JD – former FBI Dallas chief legal counsel
Jonathan Smith – Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights division chief
Marcia Thompson, Esq. – law enforcement and civil rights attorney and consultant
Dr. Rita Watkins – executive director of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas

City Manager Cooke will present the recommendations to City Council at the Tuesday, November 12 City Council Work Session. Following presentation to the City Council and residents, City Manager Cooke will place a resolution to approve the creation of the panel on the Tuesday, November 19 City Council meeting agenda. The panel’s review process will begin immediately upon finalization of the contracts with each individual or entity. The review is expected to continue for several months, with regular updates, reports and recommendations on changes and improvements.

All reports and updates will be posted online at fortworthtexas.gov/FWPDReview.

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