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.
Significant progress continues on all three of the TxDOT signature bridges on Panther Island. Here are a few highlights:
Henderson Street Bridge
In late September, the contractor completed the final signature V-Pier on the Henderson Street Bridge. This means all 20 signature V-piers are now completed.
With all of the signature V-Piers complete, motorists can expect to see the superstructure false work (the temporary support structure for construction) to begin spanning this bridge. The superstructure false work is under construction on both the north and south ends of the bridge.
Once the superstructure false work is in place, the contractor will begin installing the steel reinforcement for the bridge’s box girder system. The box girder is the portion of the bridge that supports the roadway.
White Settlement Bridge
Work is well underway on the box girder superstructure on the White Settlement Bridge. The box girder is the portion of the bridge that supports the roadway. In August and September, the bridge contractor performed six major concrete pours associated with the bridge’s support system.
Major concrete pours have now been performed on three of the four bridge abutments. It is anticipated that four additional concrete pours will occur on the bridge in October.
North Main Bridge
The contractor has completed the superstructure false work for the North Main Bridge and is installing th steel reinforcement for the box girder systems over two of the signature v-piers. It is anticipated that the steel installation will continue into December.
The Panther Island project, which includes three signature bridges positioned along the to-be-realigned Trinity River, is a collaborative effort between the Trinity River Vision Authority, TxDOT, the City of Fort Worth, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tarrant County.
Head over to Crockett Street and discover The Dash between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 23 on Crockett Row (Crockett Street between Currie and Norwood streets).
There will be breakfast tacos, giveaways and the opportunity to claim wristbands that provide access to more than 20 deals at Crockett Row and Cultural District merchants.
The Dash is Trinity Metro’s first electric bus that will take riders from downtown Fort Worth to the Seventh Street corridor and the Cultural District. The Dash provides daily service with later hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Rides on The Dash are complimentary through Oct. 31. Starting Nov. 1, tickets are $2 one way or $5 for a day pass, which includes all of Trinity Metro’s bus services, TEXRail and Trinity Metro Express to CentrePort
Cowtown Farmers Market invites all area families to celebrate the beginning of fall with a special celebration from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 21, highlighting the benefits of fresh, local foods. The event is in collaboration with Blue Zones Project, a community-led well-being improvement initiative making healthy choices easier.
The come-and-go event will feature fresh products, all grown or produced within 150 miles of Fort Worth; free reusable grocery bags and other giveaways; a cooking demonstration by Ellerbe Fine Foods; free fruit for every child; fall-themed kids activities; and artisan vendors.
Cowtown Farmers Market is at 3821 Southwest Blvd., on the Benbrook Traffic Circle. It is open 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays during the spring/summer growing season.
Many people question what it means when the National Weather Service issues a watch or a warning. Knowing the difference is important, especially when it’s a tornado or flash flood warning.
Here’s a quick way to tell the difference:
A watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop in or near the watch area. The watch area, when shown on a map, will usually cover several counties or large portions of the region. Residents should translate this as: “Good chance we’ll get some weather.” Stay alert and keep your eyes and ears open as the weather may be changing soon.
A warning means a dangerous weather event is occurring or will shortly occur at or very near a specific location. The warning area, when shown on a map, is normally much smaller, such as the size of a town, city or single county. Residents should translate this as: “If you’re in that location, take cover right now!”
The National Weather Service will issue a weather watch or warning for tornados, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and excessive temperatures. Stay a step ahead of the storms by purchasing a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio to receive watch and warning information directly from the National Weather Service.
The bottom line on watches and warning:
In a watch, keep your eyes open and watch for changing weather conditions.
In a warning, find sturdy shelter immediately if you are in the warning area.
Average Fort Worth residential customers would see their stormwater utility fee increase by 35 cents per month in 2020 based on the proposed rate increase presented to the City Council. With the proposed changes, the average residential customer would pay $5.75 per month in 2020, up from $5.40 a month, or $69 a year for stormwater utility services with the proposed rate increase in 2020, up from $64.80 per year.
A document highlighting the proposed 2020 rate changes and explaining the factors behind the changes is available for review. If approved by the City Council on Oct. 15, the new rates take effect Jan. 1.
The proposed changes to stormwater rates affect the fixed monthly charge, which is based on the amount of the property’s impervious surface, such as rooftops and driveways, which determines the amount of runoff from properties into the public drainage system during rain events.
View the stormwater utility fee billing table for the 2019 rate comparison to 2020 rates with proposed fee increase.
The fee increase will be used to accelerate the delivery of high-priority capital projects to improve the safety of hazardous road flooding locations, rehabilitate aging storm drain pipes, restore eroded channels and mitigate flooding to homes and businesses.
The City Council directed city staff to continue studying the best way to regulate short-term rentals as the use of Airbnb and similar properties becomes more prevalent in Fort Worth.
Planning & Development Director Randle Harwood estimated there are 1,100 properties being marketed as short-term rentals in Fort Worth, generating about $15 million in gross revenue yearly. If all of these properties paid hotel occupancy taxes, the city would net between $1 million and $1.5 million yearly.
Some Texas cities, including San Antonio, Austin and Arlington, regulate short-term rentals. In addition, many cities collect a hotel occupancy tax from these properties, but Fort Worth does not have a mechanism for collecting the tax.
Under the current zoning regulations, short-term rentals are essentially allowed everywhere but in residential areas. Code Compliance officers are responsible for enforcement on a complaint basis, usually the result of a nuisance situation such as excessive noise or parking problems around a property.
Last June, city staff began tracking zoning violations related to short-term rentals. Since then, 11 violations have been recorded.
Through the end of this year, city staff will continue to explore how to implement regulations and enforcement options. Another briefing to the City Council is scheduled for January 2020.
One of the most prestigious events in the equine industry, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™, has selected Fort Worth as a qualifier location for the North American League’s 2020-2021 season.
The inaugural Fort Worth, Texas, International — a newcomer to the League — will be held Dec. 15-20, 2020, at the 5,800-seat Will Rogers Coliseum. It will be the first FEI Qualifier held in Texas and one of only eight qualifiers held in North America.
The event will draw many of the top show jumping competitors and have an international live broadcast signal to increase exposure of the sport in North America. The World Cup Qualifier is also on the books for two additional years in Fort Worth.
“This is a huge win for Will Rogers Memorial Center,” said David Reeves, director of sales for the Will Rogers Memorial Complex. “All of our partners deserve a huge pat on the back for our success in the equestrian event business, as we would never have landed an event of this caliber without everyone’s cooperation and hard work and the support of our community. This is great news and exposure for Fort Worth and Texas.”
The City Council approved an additional $981,050 to finish rehabilitating the iconic Pioneer Tower at Will Rogers Memorial Center, giving it a high-tech facelift in time for the opening of the nearby Dickies Arena later this year.
Early this year, contractors began rehabbing the tower. During the process, unforeseen conditions were identified that require additional repairs to ensure the integrity of the structure. The additional work is expected to extend the life of the facility and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
Infrastructure-related work on the tower will include replacing a limestone band, which was determined to be structurally unsound, and the lower glass blocks on the north side of the tower.
Total cost of the project is now $4,737,100. Funds for the infrastructure work will come from the Public Events Capital Fund.
Aluminum grates have been removed from all sides of the 209-foot tower so it can be lit from within. The grates were installed sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
In addition, Fort Worth Public Art is developing video projection mapping at Pioneer Tower. The technology turns building facades into surfaces for video projection.
A public relighting celebration is planned for Nov. 6.
Pioneer Tower, flanked by the domed coliseum to the east and an auditorium to the west, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility, at 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., was built in 1936. Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick designed the buildings for the Texas Centennial celebration using a mixture of Classical Revival and Moderne styles. All three buildings are constructed with buff-yellow brick and are significant as one of the most outstanding examples of Art Deco architecture in Texas.
The new home of Texas’ oldest livestock show and rodeo and one of the state’s largest electricity providers are joining forces to bring exciting fan experiences to Fort Worth. Trail Drive Management Corp. the not-for-profit operating entity of Dickies Arena, announced Reliant will become the official energy provider of Dickies Arena and a founding sponsor.
The agreement also makes Reliant a major sponsor of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
As part of the agreement with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Reliant is bringing the convenience of power on the go to keep people connected and their mobile devices charged during their visit to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo thanks to Reliant Go Charging Stations. These portable power solutions let visitors rent a power pack from a self-service station, charge a device and return the palm-sized unit at any station. For Reliant residential and small-business electricity customers, rentals at any Reliant Go Station are free.
Dickies Arena will bring a wide variety of programming to Fort Worth, including major concerts, family shows, sporting events and community events. Beginning in 2020, Dickies Arena will be the home to the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo performances. The $540 million project will complement the current Will Rogers Memorial Complex, which will continue to host major equestrian shows, trade shows, competitions and more.
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