Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes unveiled a new strategy for combating violent crime in the city with a new initiative called the “One Second Collaborative.”
The initiative involves a partnership with the United Way of Tarrant County with the goal of reducing violent crime in targeted communities by supporting community groups working to end violence.
“It’s a collaboration of like-minded people who understand that a one-second decision can literally be a difference between life and death,” Noakes told the city council on Tuesday.
“A lot of the violence we are seeing across the county and unfortunately what we’re seeing across Fort Worth and Tarrant County right now involves a lot of unaddressed trauma,” Noakes added.
Noakes claimed the program has a proven track record of over 20 years in different communities across the country.
“It’s not us going into the community telling them what they need, it’s working with the community to find out what they want to do,” said Noakes.
The initiative will be implemented in five fashions:
- Community mobilization
- Opportunities provision, working with workforce employment systems
- Social intervention, which would be outreach services
- Suppression, such as community policing
- Organization change and development
The United Way of Tarrant County will take the lead in implementing the program, while a steering committee will oversee the collaboration.
“It’s very much in the wheelhouse of the United Way to bring people together, focus on an issue, and working alongside each other so we can make sure we’re complimenting each other, not duplicating,” said Leah King, CEO of the United Way of Tarrant County.
“We truly are helping young people in particular move from those split-second decisions that they may live to regret for the rest of their lives, if they get to live,” said King.
The collaboration will cost $6.5 million to be implemented and be funded by taxpayer dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“We know that in order to get this done, it’s going to literally take every institution within the community to come together,” said King.
The United Way of Tarrant County and Fort Worth City Council member Jared Williams pushed a similar collaboration last month specifically to address teen gun violence.
Williams called the problem of teen gun violence in Tarrant County an endemic in a May 25 letter to City Manager David Cooke. He cited a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that found 101 middle or high-school-aged youths have died from gun violence in Tarrant County since 2016.
“That’s at least 4-5 classrooms of children we’ve lost,” Williams wrote.
Williams’ proposed collaboration with United Way of Tarrant County is contingent upon the Fort Worth City Council approving the use of $4.4 million from the ARPA for the program. It is unclear when the city of Fort Worth will vote on potentially approving the ARPA funds.
Still, Williams and King said the $4.4 million is to start the collaboration to fight crime, and it may take as much as $20 million over the next ten years to address the issue entirely.
“Our young people didn’t get this way overnight,” King said.