Council Report: Police Policy Development and Review Panel set

In another matter related to fixing the challenges facing the Fort Worth Police Department and the public it serves, at Tuesday’s work session, the Fort Worth City Council received an informal report naming the list of individuals recommended by City Manager David Cooke’s office for a Police Policy Development and Review Panel.

The review will identify patterns and practices related to police interactions with the public during investigative stops, searches, arrests, and use of force incidents. The panel will examine police policies, operational practices, training, documentation, accountability systems, corrective and reporting procedures, and technology applications.

Substantial interaction and listening sessions with community members, groups, and police personnel is an integral part of the process. Other areas the panel is expected to review include community policing and engagement, Internal Affairs complaints, recruitment, hiring, promotions, critical incident interactions with the mental health community and interactions with youths.

Ultimately, it is expected that recommendations developed by the panel will provide a

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roadmap and focus areas for police department change and oversight.

“This is the panel that the mayor called for after the unfortunate shooting of Ms. (Atatiana) Jefferson. The Panel of recognized national experts with experience in consent decrees and police department reviews will help our police department improve its operations and policies in several areas and provide the best in class means by which to train our officers,” Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said.

“They will include the public to have a better understanding of what the community sees as issues and shore up any deficiencies by making recommendations for changes or improvement.”

The panel, if approved, will be led by two locally based professionals, Dr. Alex del Carmen and Dr. Theron L. Bowman. Both have strong local and national ties with extensive police reform experience. Other recommended panel members include:

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*Jonathan Smith – Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights Division Chief.

*Emily Gunston – Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights Division Deputy Chief.

*Lynda Garcia – Policing Campaign Director, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

*Tom Petroski, JD – former FBI Dallas Chief Legal Counsel.

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*Marcia Thompson, Esq – law enforcement and civil rights attorney and consultant.

*Dr. Rita Watkins – Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

The council is expected to have an item on the Nov. 19 agenda on which to vote concerning these recommendations.

“The panel is ready to get started,” Cooke said. “Once we get those contracts executed, they’re expected to go the first week of December.”