The Fort Worth City Council got a glimpse at the final piece of next year’s proposed 2017 fiscal year budget Aug. 16 with a briefing on the funding recommendations for the Crime Control Prevention District (CCPD), which supports the Fort Worth Police Department.
Equipment, technology and infrastructure lead the way in funding.
The total CCPD budget is about $74.9 million, a 13 percent decrease from $86 million last fiscal year. Terry Hanson, assistant director of the city’s performance and budget department, said the decrease is due to last year’s budget allocating more money toward facility projects such as the new sixth police division.
Most of the budget, 36 percent, is dedicated to equipment, technology and infrastructure – meaning vehicles, body cameras and a new helicopter among other purchases. The city is proposing about $26.8 million for this category, a 42 percent decrease from $46 million last year.
Enhanced enforcement, which refers to mounted patrol, special response teams, SWAT and other groups, makes up 27 percent of the budget. About $20.7 million is proposed for this category.
The police department also plans to graduate 200 recruits from four training classes in fiscal year 2017, raising the recruitment and training budget from $6.2 million last fiscal year to $8.1 million next fiscal year.
The budget talks come as the city experiences a 2.4 percent drop in overall crime over the past six months, according to Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald. From January to June 2015, about 36,231 offenses were reported. This year, that number is 35,358.
What has risen are reported crimes against persons and society. Crimes against persons (i.e., murder, assault, sex offenses, etc.) are up 2 percent from last year, while crimes against society (i.e., drug violations, gambling, prostitution, etc.) are up 3.4 percent.
“Everyone involved in the police department below me has done a fantastic job of making sure that in some of those trying times we’ve seen, that they were able to prompt a decline in total crime,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got work to do.”
Budget meetings will continue until the city council’s final vote, scheduled for Sept. 13. Part of the proposed budget is a 2-cent decrease in the property tax rate.
The most updated meeting schedule can be found on the city’s website: fortworthtexas.gov/calendar