A series of community conversations led by Fort Worth’s police oversight office starts Thursday night in an effort to provide the community with an update on their work.
The City of Fort Worth's Office of the Police Oversight Monitor, spearheaded by director Kim Neal, was first established in February 2020 to provide oversight and accountability of the Fort Worth Police Department. Their office officially opened in March 2020.
For the past 18 months, Neal said their office has grown from two employees to six and that they have partnered with the Texas A&M University School of Law who has students interning with the office to research policing practices. Neal said one of the tasks their office has handled is the complaint intake process within the Fort Worth Police Department.
There had been calls to make the investigation process more transparent, Neal said.
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“Some of those recommendations have been implemented within the police department. It’s a work in progress. So, we have seen some great improvements in that,” she said. “Specifically, Internal Affairs is handling most of the investigations now which wasn’t the case before. We’re able to track those investigations and monitor those investigations.”
The discussion Thursday evening will be online. Neal said one of the challenges in the office’s first year has been adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic and being able to meet people in person. However, she said they have been able to meet connect with various organizations to discuss policing.
“The impact of COVID has played tremendously on what we were able to accomplish last year and even now,” she said. “They [community members] want them to be in open session and I’m still concerned about COVID numbers, so we’ve chosen to do them virtually. Hopefully next year, we can do them out in the open and in-person and maybe share a hybrid approach.”
The discussions will include updates from their office along with goals for 2022.
The three upcoming community conversations are scheduled below:
- Thursday, Oct. 14 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Join online by logging into webex.com and entering meeting number 2559-045-4721. Password: 1234. Join by phone at 469-210-7159 and enter the meeting number 2559-045-4721 with the password 1234.
- Saturday, Oct. 16: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Join online by logging into webex.com and entering meeting number 2550-364-9070. Password: 1234. Join by phone at 469-210-7159 and enter the meeting number 2550-364-9070 with the password 1234.
- Wednesday, Oct. 20: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join online by logging into webex.com and entering meeting number 2554-317-9295. Password: 1234. Join by phone at 469-210-7159 and enter the meeting number 2559-317-9295 with the password 1234.