The Fort Worth Police Department is undergoing significant changes with a new focus on transparency and diversity, new police chief Ed Kraus said at a community forum Tuesday.
Kraus spoke inside a gym at the city’s new Como Community Center at a event called “Beyond the Badge.”
As an example, the chief said the department used to resist releasing body camera videos of officer-involved shootings, but now aims to make them public within just three days.
Also speaking at the forum was Fort Worth's new director of diversity and inclusion Christina Brooks.
"I'm responsible for making sure that we track the progress and that progress is actually being made and that it's not just lip service,” Brooks said.
A new police monitor will start work soon. Meanwhile, an outside panel is reviewing department procedures.
The department is also reaching out for help from activists like Melvin Lee, who attended the forum.
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"I know what it's like, especially being an African American male,” Lee said. “You get kind of stereotyped, get labeled, just being an African American male. But I was able to overcome a lot of different things."
On their way out, residents like 85-year-old Dorothy Thompson said they thought the forum was a step forward.
"I thought it was great,” Thompson said. “Just need more of them.”
Police said they hoped to continue the conversation in future forums.
"Our goal is to reach out to the community, to be a partner with the community, to show them that hey, 'We want to be transparent and we want to address their concerns,'" Ofc. Tracy Carter said.