New DOJ initiative to include Fort Worth

Within days after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report about racial bias in the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department and justice system, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday a new pilot program to help improve relations between law enforcement and communities.

Fort Worth is one of the six cities selected to be part of the $4.75 million trial project called the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which will provide training, research and technical assistance aimed at increasing fairness, reducing discrimination and strengthening relationships.

While Mayor Betsy Price notes that Fort Worth has a reputation of encouraging diversity and striving for equitable treatment, she welcomed the planned study as a way to build on those strengths. Presumably Fort Worth, the largest city in the project, was chosen because of some of its groundbreaking partnerships though community policing.

Still, the police department has had some high-profile incidents in recent years that caused some to question its fairness and its overall interaction with various communities.

Former Police Chief Jeff Halstead, in an outgoing communique to offices, noted that there was still a need “to train more effectively so we can police in a manner expected by all citizens, all cultures and within every community.”

That’s an important goal, one for which this new initiative should provide some help.

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