Tuesday night, Fort Worth city council members will hear several proposals for policy changes within the Fort Worth Police Department that have been put forward by some of the same people who led several days of protest marches earlier this month.
Among the many proposals suggested by Enough is Enough Fort Worth and United My Justice are:
- Reduce the proposed 2021 budget for the Fort Worth Police Department from $267 million to $72 million, and reallocate the remaining approximately $195 million to other areas of concern like affordable housing and housing solution for homeless people, medical assistance, free public transportation, parks and recreation programs and youth centers.
- Remove Fort Worth police officers and all “armed forces” from schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District in order to “reverse our city’s role in Texas’ school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts minority students.”
- Remove police surveillance equipment from the Las Vegas Trail and Stop Six neighborhoods, because the program “unfairly targets communities of color.”
- Cite and release for all low-level, nonviolent and “fine only” offenses.
- Eliminate fines and fees for low-income citizens.
- Ban stops for “furtive” movements and behavior, for being in a “high crime” area and for suspicion based on profiling due to any persons “fitting into the protected groups as per the 14th Amendment.”
- Ban use of lethal force for individuals fleeing on foot.
- Ban “no-knock” warrant executions in the city.
- Host a town hall with the theme ‘Black Lives Matter’ in order to “provide a forum for the community to express grievances and an opportunity for leadership to listen and respond.”
- Limit the scope of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, including forbidding the organization from making campaign contributions to candidates for elected city positions.
- Establish a strictly “non-police alternative” to handle mental health crises, and instead dispatch unarmed mental health professionals and social workers to “work as first responders for all mental health calls.”
A spokesperson for Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price indicated that city leaders are open to reallocating money within the police department, but any discussion about specific amounts or how it could be spent instead of on police would have to wait until the public comment period during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Many of the other proposed policy changes will also be taken seriously by city leaders, according to the mayor’s spokesperson.
In addition to police reform, Tuesday’s council meeting will also feature an important discussion about the city’s approach to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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On Monday, Mayor Price debuted her new public health message on social media – “Y’all Wear a Mask.” The campaign features the silhouette of a cowboy wearing a face mask, emblazoned with the official logo of the City of Fort Worth, along with the phrase “Help Do Your Part,” written along the bottom.
Mayor Price and other city leaders have refrained from making face masks mandatory in city businesses, unlike Dallas and Bexar county officials, for example, and instead have “strongly encouraged” their usage.
“I strongly encourage Fort Worth residents to wear face coverings in public and maintain social distancing,” Mayor Price wrote on Facebook Monday. “We all play a role in the health and safety of our community and it is as simple as – y’all wear a mask!”