The Fort Worth City Council voted earlier this month to provide more taxpayer funding to community programs that address crime.
The funding is part of the $117 million Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD) budget and will support gang intervention, after-school, youth mentoring, and homeless outreach programs.
From 2021 and 2022 to 2022 to 2023, the percentage increase for the Police Operating Budget, both CCPD and General Fund increased by 11.48 percent and for the CCPD only, it increased by 23.98 percent.
“Of the $117 million in funding, $10.2 million is specifically reserved for community programs. This is primarily in the form of grants to non-profit agencies that provide services designed to prevent crime and increase public safety,” said Keith Morris, Assistant Director for the Fort Worth Police Department.
The CCPD was originally established in 1995, and citizens voted to renew the initiative in 2000, 2005, 2009, 2014, and 2020. A large portion of the funds will be spent on vehicles, cameras, and resource officers.
Operation Progress Fort Worth (OPFW) is one of the organizations that will benefit from the community program funding.
“Operation Progress was approved by the City Council for funding on September 13, in the amount of $300,000 over a three-year period,” said Morris.
Established in 2020, OPFW is similar to a program that began in Los Angeles. The organization currently works with 15 children in the Como neighborhood in Fort Worth to provide academic assistance and learning experiences outside the classroom and helps youths establish a mentoring relationship with law enforcement officers.
“And you see the hearts and the minds of both stakeholders changing, through authentic relationship building,” executive director Dr. Myeshia Smith said in an interview with a local news outlet.
The $100,000 of taxpayer funding each year will help the program expand to include up to 30 students and work in additional neighborhoods.
Funding was also approved for after-school programs in Fort Worth, Keller, Crowley, and White Settlement Independent School Districts.
The program Violence Intervention Fort Worth received more than $600,000 to help combat gun-related youth violence.
The Boys and Girls Club of Tarrant County received $1.6 million for its gang intervention program.