Federal “building trust” program seeks Fort Worth citizens’ input

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A U.S. Justice Department program aimed at helping fight crime and building trust between community and law enforcement is seeking public input at a meeting tonight.

Fort Worth is one of six pilot sites chosen for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at The Potter’s House Fort Worth campus at 1270 Woodhaven Blvd.

Read more about the program here.

A news release Tuesday from Fort Worth police included the following Q&A about the program:

What is the National Initiative (NI) for Building Community Trust and Justice?

▪  One of the recommendations from the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report, established by President Obama to improve the lives of young men of color, released in May 2014.

▪  A collaboration of scholars, practitioners and criminal justice professionals (Police, District Attorney, Public Defenders, Courts, Probation and Parole) designed to enhance community trust and help repair and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

▪  A holistic groundbreaking approach designed to utilize research, surveys and assessments to reduce implicit bias, enhance procedural justice, facilitate racial reconciliation and provide intervention strategies for domestic violence, youth, gangs, and the LGBTQI community.

Why are they coming to Fort Worth?

▪  We have an outstanding relationship with our community; however, we know we can always improve our level of service and asked to be included in the initiative to further distinguish our Department as the leader in Community Policing and citizen engagement.

▪  The NI team considered approximately 100 sites and believed we had the willingness, capacity and infrastructure to achieve measurable gains.

Are we the only city involved in the NI?

▪  No, the following cities were also selected as pilot sites: Birmingham, AL; Pittsburgh, PA; Stockton, CA; Minneapolis, MN.; and Gary, IN.

Is the Department of Justice (DOJ) taking over the FWPD?

▪  No, the DOJ awarded the National Network for Safe Communities a grant, through John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to launch a National Initiative which is comprised of national experts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity and the Urban Institute.

Will the NI force changes on us that do not fit Fort Worth?

▪  No, the NI will make a series of recommendations for us to consider and it is up to us to implement all or some of their suggestions.

When will the NI begin?

▪  The City and the NI must agree to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the process can begin.

▪  If an MOU is agreed upon and signed, the NI will begin as early as October.

How long will it last?

▪  The NI is a research intensive project and we are committing to a 3-year process.

- Deanna Boyd