Fort Worth Names Outside Panel To Audit Police Department Policies | KERA News

Fort Worth Names Outside Panel To Audit Police Department Policies

Nov 13, 2019

Fort Worth's City Manager David Cooke has named an outside panel of experts to review the Fort Worth Police Department's policies and practices. Now, it's up to the city council to approve hiring the eight police reform specialists.

Mayor Betsy Price called for an independent panel to assess police department policies and practices after the killing of Atatiana Jefferson last month by a Fort Worth patrol officer.

The specialists chosen will study the police department and make recommendations for changes to increase trust and confidence in its officers. The panel's work is expected to cost the city $375,000.

That vote is scheduled for next week. 

"I'm very pleased with this panel," Price said at a city council briefing Tuesday. "I think they represent a depth and breadth of knowledge that will bring a lot to the table for Fort Worth, I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring forward."

The panel will be led by Dr. Alex del Carmen and Dr. Theron L. Bowman. Both experts have local and national ties and police reform experience. Del Carmen is an assistant dean and professor in the school of criminology at Tarleton State University, and served as a court-appointed federal monitor for police in New Orleans and Puerto Rico. Bowman is a former chief of police and deputy city manager for the City of Arlington and is a deputy federal consent-decree monitor for the Baltimore police department.

Other panel members include:

  • Lynda Garcia, Policing Campaign Director, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Emily Gunston, Washngton Lawyers’ Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights Division Deputy chief
  • Tom Petroski, JD, former FBI Dallas Chief Legal Counsel
  • Jonathan Smith, Washington Lawyers' Committee and former USDOJ Civil Rights Division Chief
  • Marcia Thompson, Esq., law enforcement and civil rights attorney and consultant
  • Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

The expert panel would begin work next month and is expected to hold community meetings to gain feedback and input from citizens. The city also plans to appoint a permanent community oversight board for the police department sometime next year.