City manager recommends police monitor, community panel to provide independent oversight

Based on recommendations from the Task Force on Race and Culture, the city manager laid out plans for independent oversight of the Fort Worth Police Department.

Initially, the city manager will seek approval from the City Council to create a police monitor function in the City Manager’s Office. Recruitment for that position is expected to begin in early summer, with the candidate beginning work at the start of the city’s next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Among other recommendations, the task force urged the city to adopt a method for independent oversight of the police department to increase the community’s trust in the department. Establishing the independent oversight program would require a City Council ordinance.

The person hired for the police monitor position will lead efforts to empanel a nine-member Community Oversight Board and define the processes associated with independent oversight of the police department.

City Manager David Cooke and his staff are considering models used in other jurisdictions that could be adapted for Fort Worth. Input will be collected from stakeholders, including the police department, community board, City Council and residents. Funding for the police monitor and an assistant position is estimated to be in the range of $300,000 per year.

In other recommendations stemming from the work of the Task Force on Race and Culture, the Police Department plans to reinstate a Police Cadet program and target students in majority-minority high schools as a way to potentially recruit more minority applicants to the ranks of the department. That program is estimated to cost $370,000 annually.

The Police Department will soon begin crafting a diversity hiring plan for all positions with respect to race, ethnicity and gender. A recruitment plan is expected to be presented to the city manager by July.

About the task force

The Task Force on Race and Culture concluded 18 months of work when it presented the City Council with a slate of more than 20 recommendations last December. View the recommendations.

In 2017, the City Council appointed a 23-member task force to examine issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth. The task force asked for community input through a series of meetings and online engagement tools. As a result, thousands of residents participated in dozens of town hall-style meetings and smaller gatherings called Community Conversations.

Subcommittees studied racial equity and bias in several areas: criminal justice, economic development, education, health, housing, municipal governance and transportation.

Task force co-chairs were Rosa Navejar (presiding co-chair), Lillie Biggins, Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Bob Ray Sanders.

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