Denise Rodriguez will join the City of Fort Worth’s police monitor’s office to help lead the effort to finalize a model for independent review of the Fort Worth Police Department, the city said in a news release. She joins Kim Neal, named earlier in January to lead the office.
“I believe that Denise will be an excellent addition to the office,” Neal said. “We will work together to enhance positive and effective community-police relations in Fort Worth, while making Fort Worth’s Independent Police Oversight Monitor’s Office the best in the country.”
City Manager David Cooke said Rodriguez was impressive during the interview process.
“We believed it would be a great opportunity if we could add her to the team, knowing that ultimately the police monitor office will need additional staff,” Cooke said. “In her new role, Denise will assist the monitor in establishing the office in developing processes and procedures as well as assist in the reviews related to complaints, police policies and outreach to the community to build trust.”
Rodriguez is a leading expert on collaborative reform, police accountability and community-based policing. She currently is a senior research scientist at CNA, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to the safety and security of the nation.
In her nearly 11 years at CNA, Rodriguez has gained extensive experience in police procedures and policies, police assessments and monitoring and program management.
Rodriguez also oversees and supports a variety of programs funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, including leading a team of researchers, practitioners and subject matter experts in delivering technical assistance to more than 400 law enforcement agencies in implementing body-worn cameras.
In addition, she is leading a team of researchers and police experts in conducting a study on homicide support groups, an innovative strategy that seeks to reduce violence by increasing community trust and cooperation with law enforcement through empathy and support for victims and their families, the city news release said.
Rodriguez has also served as the principal investigator and lead police monitor for the Spokane, Washington, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, police departments and supported similar organizational assessments of the Las Vegas Metropolitan and Philadelphia police departments through the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ Collaborative Reform Initiative.
Her work on police reform has resulted in more than 250 recommendations to local governments on police tactics, community engagement, accountability, public transparency and organizational reform.
Rodriguez holds a master’s degree in forensic psychology from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She is a native Texan, born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley.
Establishment of the police monitor role stems from a recommendation made by Fort Worth’s Task Force on Race and Culture.