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Community advisory board working with Fort Worth police hosts first meetings

A community advisory board working with Fort Worth police has held its first meetings.

The board consists of 14 members, with room for possibly five more people. The members were selected by Fort Worth Chief Neil Noakes, who said they range in different areas of experience and community involvement.

“When we looked at the prior board, it was called the policy advisory committee when it was originally created, it was very heavy on police participation and rather light on community representation. This time, we want to make sure the group itself reflected the intent of the group in the first place,” Chief Noakes said Tuesday. “Only three members of the police department that have been in any meetings are myself, Deputy Chief Buck Wheeler and we were going to announce this at another meeting but I’ll tell you now, Deputy Chief, formerly Commander, Monica Martin.”

Noakes briefed Fort Worth city councilmembers Tuesday, explaining the duties before the board includes reviewing and understanding Fort Worth Police Department policies. The board can also serve as an additional avenue to receive complaints or compliments and direct them to the city’s Office of Police Oversight Monitor.

“Accountability, collaboration, transparency is what we’re achieving,” he said.

The first meeting was held on May 30 and the most recent meeting was on July 31. Noakes said an issue that was raised “time and time again” during meetings so far has been homelessness.

Lauren King, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, is one of the 14 members on the board. The non-profit organization has been operating for about 30 years.

“Our mission is to be a catalyst for community change,” King said. “We work closely with NPOs, neighborhood patrol officers to know their neighborhoods. We rely on them to know where people are, to help us know what state they’re in. We can’t be everywhere.”

King said since 2020, homelessness in Tarrant County has increased by about 25%. The organization’s data from May shows on average, about 2,600 people are experiencing homelessness every night in Tarrant County.

The increase has been a concern in the board’s meetings, King said.

“People want to know how they can help, what they can do when someone is experiencing homelessness, what the police response is,” she explained. “I think a lot of times, people think if they’re going to call the police about homelessness, it’s going to get someone in trouble.  That’s not necessarily the case.”

While the board meetings are private, Chief Noakes said they may hold forums for the public in the future.

The 14 members of the board are:

  • Susan Garnett, My Health My Resources of Tarrant County
  • Felipe Gutierrez, LGBTQ+ Advocate
  • Lauren King, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition
  • Annette Landeros, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Parish Lowery, Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
  • Kaleb Gonzalez, Young Adult Representative
  • Rodney McIntosh, Community Advocate
  • Lee Muhammed, Mosque #48
  • David Saenz, Fort Worth ISD
  • Ty Stimpson, Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Estrus Tucker, Race & Culture Task Force
  • Murali Vennam, Hindu Temple of Greater Fort Worth
  • Estella Williams, NAACP
  • Brent Carr, retired judge


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