Fort Worth to work on some demands of police reform protesters

The city of Fort Worth says it will work on some police reform demands brought by activist groups but says others aren't legally possible.

In the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death, the city said it’s trying to figure out how to move forward with better relations between the police and the community.

“We can have a group of citizens look at police policy and procedure. But if we don’t impact it on the other end, where those same changes are then filtering to the training and practices in the police department, then we’re not going to have changed relations,” said Kim Neal, newly hired police monitor.

The group enough is enough made 12 demands for change.

When it comes to a call to defund police, a budget review is underway to potentially “redistribute resources” to enhance several social service programs.

The group asked to make police officers’ disciplinary history accessible to the public. But the city said state law prohibits the release of such records to citizens. An early intervention program is being developed and the city said it does not hire any officer who has been accused of excessive force. 

The group also wanted Fort Worth PD officers taken out of FWISD schools. It insisted their presence perpetuates a school to prison pipeline.

FWPD Chief Ed Kraus said school districts would have to terminate existing contracts. He added that while resource officers made 12 misdemeanor arrests this year, he believes they are positive influences.   

“Our school resource officers provided 405 anti-gang prevention presentations and had 845 mentorship interactions. As you can see, although they are there to provide safety for students, they are also serving as a good role models for the students,” Kraus said.

Neal says the city needs a citizen’s police review board.

“What I told the council yesterday is I’m committing to three months, so somewhere around the end of September, beginning of October, I’m really shooting for that goal of having recommendations in front of the council and citizens,” Neal said.

The protesters also want arrest records expunged for those arrested during the George Floyd demonstrations. Kraus said while some charges have been dropped, it won’t happen for those arrested for assaulting officers or damaging property.