The candidates for the new City of Fort Worth police monitor will hold a public forum on Nov. 20 at Fort Worth Central Library, 500 W Third St. The forum begins at 6 p.m. in the library auditorium followed by a public reception at 7 p.m. in the gallery area.
During the public forum, the candidates will respond to questions. During the public reception, residents will have the opportunity to talk with the candidates.
Free parking is available at Sundance Square Garage 3 beginning at 5 p.m. If you arrive before free parking begins, take your ticket to the library’s circulation desk for validation.
Sundance Square Garage 3 is at 420 Throckmorton St. The entrance is on Third Street, just past the Taylor Street intersection. There are also parking meters around the library, with free parking after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The forum will be online at fortworthtexas.gov/FWTV.
About the candidates (from Fort Worth City website)
Edward Harness is the Executive Director of Albuquerque’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency. The City Council of Albuquerque appointed him to this position in September 2015. Prior to his appointment, Albuquerque entered a Consent Decree with the Department of Justice in November 2014. The Department of Justice found that the Albuquerque Police Department had a pattern and practice of using excessive force. The Civilian Police Oversight Agency is mandated by the Consent Decree and Mr. Harness is its first Executive Director.
The Civilian Police Oversight Agency is an independent agency that investigates complaints against Albuquerque Police Department and reviews all internal affairs investigations and officer-involved shootings. Harness also makes recommendations on the discipline of officers. Under his leadership, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency is in operational compliance as evaluated by the Federal Monitor.
A graduate of Marquette University Law School, Harness had a private law practice for fifteen years. His practice was a Federal Debt Relief Agency and focused on consumer rights. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Management of Criminal Justice Operations. Prior to attending law school, Edward was a City of Milwaukee Police Officer and a U.S. Army Military Policeman.
Harness has a total of eleven years’ experience in civilian oversight of police. He served seven years as a volunteer Police Commissioner in Wisconsin prior to his appointment to the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of New Mexico.
Janna Lewis has more than 15 years’ experience working in the criminal justice arena. For the past 13 years, she has been working as the Deputy Ombudsman for the King County Office of the Ombuds in Washington state, where the majority of her time is spent working on law enforcement oversight-related matters. An Ombudsman is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of mal-administration or a violation of rights by a public authority. Her office has a broad mandate to investigate misconduct by employees or agencies in King County. Her primary focus has been working to resolve or investigate complaints that involve the two law enforcement agencies in the County, the sheriff and the jail.
Lewis currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) where she is a co-chair of the Training, Education and Standards Committee. She has also been instrumental in revising and establishing the guidelines for the Certified Practitioner of Oversight credential program, contributing to the written procedures that NACOLE operates under, and is a regular contributor at the NACOLE Annual Conference.
Prior to her work as a Deputy Ombuds, Lewis has worked as both a criminal defense attorney and as a prosecutor, working as the Pierce County Attorney. She graduated with honors from Seattle University School of Law with a J.D. (2004) after receiving her B.A. (2001) in Law and Justice from Central Washington University. Lewis also has in-depth training in equity and social justice, procedural justice, law enforcement performance auditing, mediation and cognitive interviewing techniques.
Kim Neal, JD, LPEC, CCEP serves as Executive Director for the Citizens Complaint Authority in Cincinnati, OH. In this role, she oversees the investigations of serious misconduct allegations by Cincinnati Police Officers including, but not limited to, shots fired, deaths in custody, uses of force and improper procedures with the ultimate goal of addressing citizens’ concerns and improving citizen perceptions of the Cincinnati Police Department. The Citizens Complaint Authority is an independent authority that provides professional, fair and impartial investigations and policy and procedure recommendations aimed at reforms that advance Cincinnati Police Department accountability and performance. Under Neal’s direction, the Citizens Complaint Authority serves as a voice for residents to be treated with dignity and respect through democratic policing and the power of the community to shape policing practices and standards.
Prior to the Citizens Complaint Authority, Neal held other senior level positions in other major cities in the areas of policy, employment, higher education, compliance, ethics, privacy and information disclosure in the public sector at different levels of government, and the private sector in the fields of utilities, government contracting and legal, holding such positions as Chief Ethics Officer, Chief of Staff, Senior Policy Advisor, Director and Business Consultant. Neal also served as Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, MD.
Neal earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University and Juris Doctorate from University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition, she has certifications in compliance and ethics. Neal is a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate in Hamilton County, OH. She is also an active member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Ethics and Compliance Initiativ,e and Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. Currently, she is certified to present and instruct the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives “The Law and Your Community” engagement, which is a nationally recognized hands-on interactive training program for community members designed to improve communications with law enforcement officers and understanding of federal, state and local laws.
Richard “Rick” Rasmussen was born and raised in Long Beach, Calif. He attended Millikan High School and upon graduation was accepted into the United States Air Force Academy. Rasmussen graduated from the Air Force Academy, went onto undergraduate pilot training in Mississippi and graduated as the “Top Stick,” recognized by the Flying Training Award for his undergraduate pilot training class.
Rasmussen spent the next nearly 10 years flying jets, first as an instructor and stand eval pilot/ evaluator in T-38s and then transitioned into the F-16s, where he became a flight lead and tactical squadron instructor pilot. Rasmussen was one of four flight commanders in his squadron and lived in numerous states during his Air Force time, including San Antonio.
In late 1986, Rasmussen left the United States Air Force and entered service in the FBI, where he served for the next nearly 22 years, retiring in Salt Lake City as a Supervisory Special Agent. He primarily worked violent crimes, but also worked briefly in white-collar crimes, public corruption and was the supervisor over the 2002 Winter Olympics security plan. He worked numerous kidnappings and taught “how to” classes, nationwide on kidnappings including at the Internet Crimes Against Children Conference held in Dallas.
Rasmussen retired from the FBI in 2008 and was hired to fill the position of Administrator for the Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board, a position he holds to this day. From 2013-2017, he was also appointed as the Director of the Fresno Office of Independent Review, which he did remotely and in conjunction with his position at Salt Lake City. Rasmussen has been a member of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement for many years and for the past nine years, has been a Certified Practitioner of Oversight.
Denise Rodriguez is a leading expert on collaborative reform, police accountability and community-based policing. She currently serves as 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. Most recently, Rodriguez led a team of researchers and subject matter experts in conducting a racial bias audit of the Charleston, South Carolina Police Department (CPD). The objective of the audit was to assess and monitor the CPD’s policies, practices and procedures related to use of force, traffic stops, complaints, recruitment and hiring, and community engagement.
Rodriguez also currently oversees and supports a variety of programs funded by the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; this includes 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 also 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. Rodriguez is also currently supporting the delivery of resources to the Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Office to aid their efforts to reduce violent crime and currently serves as a subject matter expert on the Chicago Independent Monitoring Team.
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, Nevada and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police departments through the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ Collaborative Reform Initiative. In conducting this work, she interviewed more than 200 police executives, police officers and community members involved in police critical incidents, created interview and survey protocols, and analyzed hundreds of use of force incident reports. 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, Virginia, 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.