The Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) is attempting to implement new techniques in an effort to avoid conflict and escalation.
The changes come on the heels of a negative review of the department by an organization called Police Reform Experts, which found what it claimed was a “concerning pattern” of the use of force by officers.
“The Fort Worth Police Department is facing a series of challenges aligning its practices of policing with its policies, procedures, and expressed values,” stated the report.
FWPD Chief Neil Noakes updated the city council on the departmental status of implementing recommendations from the expert review panel.
The critical report further claimed that the review panel found that officers were sometimes acting in ways to encourage conflict and were not being held accountable by superiors.
As a general order, all officers are required to intervene and report inappropriate force, and de-escalation techniques are now also part of all use-of-force classes. Supervisors are now required to go to scenes that could become violent. This is to ensure that officers use de-escalation techniques when they are appropriate.
Another emphasized goal is to avoid conflicts with people who are having mental health crises.
One program developed with the Fort Worth Fire Department would allow residents to volunteer information about a family member at their home so that the first responders would be better equipped with the knowledge of how to handle a situation.
The report, however, was not all negative, and the panel noted that the Fort Worth Police Department “has many characteristics of a modern, professional police department,” continuing to suggest that “Both the Department’s and the City’s leadership have taken steps to create legitimacy in all of Fort Worth’s communities.”
“The Review Panel commends the City for undertaking this review and its other efforts to create an effective police department with legitimacy in all communities,” the report concluded.