Fort Worth

Fort Worth City Manager Appoints Outside Panel to Review Police Department

The city of Fort Worth has selected an outside panel to review the police department. The panel will look at department policies and practices and provide recommendations on changes that will boost public trust and confidence, if approved by the city council.

The eight individuals include police reform specialists with local and national ties, along with other legal and and law enforcement experts. You can read more on each individual's background below.

Mayor Betsy Price called for the review after an officer shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home last month.

He has since resigned and been charged with murder.

Alex del Carmen, Ph.D. (Team Leader)

Alex del Carmen received a Ph.D. in Criminology from the College of Criminology at the Florida State University. He is considered an authority on the topic of race and crime with particular emphasis on racial profiling in law enforcement. Dr. del Carmen has written numerous articles in internationally recognized journals and published several books. Among these is the nationally recognized book titled “Racial Profiling in America”, which he published with Prentice Hall. Dr. del Carmen has presented his research findings throughout the world (Scotland, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, and Italy). Over the past 21 years, he has trained thousands of police officers including all of the Texas Police Chiefs. In addition, he is responsible for creating the Texas racial profiling statistical template widely used by law enforcement agencies throughout the state. He is often a guest on CNN, Fox News Radio, Telemundo, Univision and NBC, among other media outlets. Dr. del Carmen has served as a Federal Monitor for two of the most significant police reform cases in the nation. he has resided in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex for the past 21 years and continues to engage in consulting on racial profiling and biased based policing with police agencies throughout the country. He was recently named as a Fulbright Specialist by the United States Department of State. This was followed by an invitation by the Czech Republic to train their police personnel at the police acade my in Prague. Dr. del Carmen currently serves as a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Civil Rights Committee.

Dr. Theron L. Bowman (Team Leader)

Dr. Theron Bowman began his public service career in 1983 as an officer with the Arlington (TX) Police Department, and served in numerous positions before being appointed police chief in 1999. He later served for five years as a Deputy City Manager and Director of Public Safety before retiring in 2017. He is a police practices expert and President/CEO of The Bowman Group. He led the North Texas regional public safety efforts for the 2010 NBA All Star game, MLB World Series games and NFL Super Bowl XLV. He created and led an internal workgroup that explored and later created a statistically significant predictive geospatial algorithm that accurately explained more than seventy percent of residential burglaries in a city of 370,000 people. He has led, managed and participated in police practices investigations and audits in multiple locations, including Albuquerque, NM, Baltimore, MD, Battle Creek, MI, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Los Angeles County, CA, Maricopa County, AZ, Meridian, MS, Newark, NJ, New Orleans, LA and Seattle, WA. He is a federal court-appointed consent decree deputy monitor in Baltimore, MD, and a multidisciplinary law enforcement expert on the New Orleans, LA and Memphis, TN monitoring teams. His oversight areas include Policies, Training, First Amendment, Stops, Searches and Arrests, Bias-Free Policing, Misconduct Complaints, Recruitment, Hiring, and Promotions. Dr. Theron Bowman’s recognitions include the African American Peace Officer Association of Arlington “Officer of the Year,” Proclamation of Achievement from the Texas State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, a University of Texas at Arlington “University Scholar and Distinguished Alumni.” Theron Bowman assumed the duties of Police Chief in Arlington, Texas in 1999, and in 2003, was presented by the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute with the Outstanding Local Leader Award. In 2004, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) presented him with the Gary P. Hayes Award. In 2005, Chief Bowman was elected to chair the Texas Intelligence Council, and he began his service as a CALEA Commissioner in 2006. He served as an IACP Executive Committee member for more than ten years. Dr. Bowman was inducted into the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame located at George Mason University in 2012. Today he serves as a Director for the National Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Marcia K. Thompson, J.D.

Ms. Marcia K. Thompson has practiced law, been a professor, and a law enforcement practitioner with over 20 years’ experience working in the field. She is currently Vice President at Hillard Heintze in the law enforcement consulting division, providing oversight, management, and technical assistance on various law enforcement assessments, trainings, and reviews. Ms. Thompson has served as a law enforcement administrator and part of the command leadership team and oversaw professional standards, accreditation, compliance, training, records management, recruitment, field training, in-service training, leadership development, succession planning, community engagement, youth outreach, and the community advisory committee. Ms. Thompson has served as an advisor to several organizations on civil rights and law enforcement issues for over 15 years. As a member of both IACP and NOBLE, she has provided insight and guidance on timely and novel civil and human rights matters impacting law enforcement nationally (bias-free policing, tasers, use of force; stop and frisk; constitutional policing; procedural justice; hate crimes; ethics, affinity group protections). In various capacities, she has provided a policy, training, and legal perspective with a civil rights lens on law enforcement, community policing and criminal justice matters. Ms. Thompson is a mediator and collaborative problem solver. She served as an Ombudsman for a federal agency handling agency-wide concerns and trends as a neutral regarding policy, practices, and procedures. She has conducted large facilitated dialogues with community on police and other related public services in cities to include but not limited to Washington, DC; New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; and Baltimore, MD. She has participated in and held other facilitated dialogues on workplace and community topics as well and has taught others to use similar facilitative and problem-solving techniques to engage pertinent stakeholders.

Dr. Rita J. Villarreal-Watkins

Dr. Rita J. Villarreal-Watkins is the Executive Director of the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT). Prior to her appointment as Executive Director in 2001, she served as the Project Manager for LEMIT’s Leadership Command College. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, a Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M University, a Master of Counseling and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Counseling from Sam Houston State University. As the Executive Director of LEMIT, Dr. Villareal-Watkins’ responsibilities include the administrative supervision of the institute’s programs and curriculum development. Her proficiency includes cultural diversity, implicit bias and de-escalations training. She also oversees curriculum development, human resource management and supervision, fiscal planning, and strategic planning. Dr. Villarreal-Watkins has also developed a specialization in trauma response to crisis as a licensed professional counselor. Dr. Villareal-Watkins worked in the criminal justice field for 17 years prior to joining the LEMIT staff. While she began her career as a juvenile probation officer, her move into policing came in 1984 with the College Station Police Department, and finally as Chief Deputy for the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. She is instructor certified by the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education as well as an alternative dispute resolution mediator. In 1996 she graduated from the Leadership Command College and in 1995, the 182nd FBI National Academy, where she was selected section representative of the academy class.

Tom Petrowski, J.D.

Mr. Tom Petrowski is a consultant, practicing attorney and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies at Tarleton State University. He is currently the Assistant Special Master to the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico supporting the U.S. DOJ Consent Decree against the Puerto Rican Police Department. In 2018, Mr. Petrowski retired from the FBI after 23 years of diverse service. He spent approximately half of his career in the FBI Legal Program. He was assigned to the Legal Instruction Unit, FBI Academy, Quantico VA, where he was the primary use of force legal instructor and taught law to New Agent Trainees, FBI employees attending in-service training and state and local law enforcement managers and officers attending the National Academy and other specialized legal instruction. He then spent three years as the Associate Division Counsel before returning to operational management. At the time of his retirement, he had served as the Chief Division Counsel in the Dallas FBI Field Office for approximately five years. As a Division Counsel he provided legal counsel on all criminal and national security programs, policy compliance and internal/administrative and legal training matters. In 2016 he received the Manuel J. Gonzalez Ethics Award, the FBI’s highest award for ethics presented annually to one of the Bureau’s 35,000+ employees. Mr. Petrowski started his government service as a U.S. Army Officer and served exclusively in Special Forces, initially as a Special Forces Operator and later as a JAG Officer assigned to Special Forces. He operationally deployed to Africa, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, Central America and Haiti. After leaving active duty and prior to entering the FBI, he practiced corporate law in Boston, MA and taught at Northeastern University.

Jonathan M. Smith (Washington Lawyers’ Committee)

Jonathan M. Smith was appointed executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on July 1, 2016. The Committee has an extensive docket of individual and class action litigation that address racial and economic injustice in the criminal legal system, education, employment, housing, and public accommodations. Committee staff also work on policy, regulatory and legislative initiatives to strengthen civil rights protections. Mr. Smith served as the Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015. During his tenure, the Section was responsible for 18 pattern or practice investigations of civil rights violations by law enforcement, including the civil investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and the investigation of gender bias in the handling of sexual assaults by the University of Montana, the Missoula Montana Police Department and the Missoula Montana County Attorney. During his time in the Civil Rights Division, the Section expanded its work on juvenile justice reform, including the first Civil Rights Division findings that a juvenile court operated in violation of the United States Constitution and federal law. The Section also pursued correctional system reform on issues related to prison violence, the abuse of solitary confinement and the protection of women prisoners from sexual assault. In addition, the Section worked closely with the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative to file four Statements of Interest (amicus briefs) in Sixth Amendment systemic reform matters. Mr. Smith has an extensive career in civil legal services prior to his government services. He was the executive director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project. In each of these positions, in addition to providing program leadership, he has handled individual, class action and impact litigation, engaged in legislative advocacy and in institutional reform efforts. He started his career as an associate to Virginia civil rights lawyer Victor Glasberg. Mr. Smith serves on the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. He is also a member of the American Law Institute. He is the recipient of the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award from the DC Bar, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Advocate for Justice Award, the Meyer Foundation Exponent Award, the Washington Council of Lawyers President’s Award, the Council for Court Excellence Justice Potter Stewart Award, the Center for Non-Profit Advancement EXCELL Award, the United States Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys Director’s Award.

Emily Gunston (Washington Lawyers’ Committee)

Ms. Emily Gunston has been Deputy Legal Director at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs since August 2018. She directs and supervise all of the Committee’s criminal legal system reform work. She is responsible for significant cases and matters related to police accountability, prison conditions, parole and compassionate release, and the criminalization of poverty. Her work in this area includes individual and class action litigation, as well as policy, regulatory and legislative initiatives to mitigate the harshest conditions of confinement and reduce unnecessary and discriminatory contact with the criminal system and its effects. Prior to joining the Committee, Ms. Gunston was a Deputy Chief in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice where she helped lead the Division’s group conducting pattern or practice investigations of police departments. Ms. Gunston led the investigation of the Chicago Police Department and played leadership roles in the investigation of and work to reform other police agencies, including the New Orleans Police Department and the Cleveland Division of Police. Her work included litigating and negotiating settlement agreements to resolve investigative findings, as well as ensuring those agreements were effectively implemented. During her nine years with the Special Litigation Section, Ms. Gunston also investigated and litigated cases regarding conditions of confinement in jails and prisons and cases to ensure that persons with disabilities are not unnecessarily segregated in institutions in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Gunston was a public defender in Contra Costa County, California from 2001-2009. She received her JD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 and her BA from University of Maryland, College Park. In 2013, she was awarded the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for her work to reform the New Orleans Police Department. In 2015, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights for her work leading the investigation and consent decree negotiation regarding the Cleveland Division of Police.

Lynda Garcia (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund)

Lynda Garcia is the policing campaign director at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. In this role, she oversees the New Era of Public Safety initiative to promote fair, safe, and effective policing through collaborative reform. In March of 2019, The Education Fund published a comprehensive report to help build trust between communities and police departments, restore confidence, and reimagine a new paradigm of public safety. The report, New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing, provides communities, police departments, and lawmakers with policy recommendations for best practices to enhance accountability, build trust, and improve public and officer safety. The recommendations are adaptable to every department, in every community across the nation. The goals are to advance policing practices that respect and protect human life and ensure safety for all. Before joining The Leadership Conference, Lynda served as a trial attorney in the Special Litigation Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where she conducted pattern-or-practice investigations of law enforcement agencies and enforced consent decrees to ensure constitutional, bias-free policing. Prior to the Civil Rights Division, Lynda worked at the ACLU national office and the ACLU of New Jersey challenging discriminatory police practices in communities of color. In her role as a civil rights attorney and policing expert, Lynda has worked collaboratively with communities and police officials across the country. She has testified before Congress on best practices in policing and for congressional briefings to promote a new era of public safety and advance 21st century best practice in policing. In addition to authoring the New Era of Public Safety, Lynda is the co-author of The War on Marijuana in Black and White, a national study documenting racial disparities in marijuana arrests. Lynda graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College and cum laude from Fordham Law School. After law school, she served as a law clerk to Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York.

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