Office of the Police Oversight Monitor
The City of Fort Worth's Office of the Police Oversight Monitor (OPOM) was first established in February 2020 pursuant to Fort Worth City Code Art. 2, § 2-27(1)(a) as a mechanism with which to provide oversight and accountability of the Fort Worth Police Department. Kim Neal, was appointed as the City of Fort Worth’s first Police Monitor in March 2020. Efforts to build this newly-created office first began in mid-March 2020. Our vision for the office is for it to be a proactive leader in law enforcement accountability to the Fort Worth Police Department and the population it serves. In order to achieve this, the OPOM will engage in the following primary functions:
- OPOM will serve as the designated civilian oversight agency empowered to act fairly and impartially, ensuring greater accountability of and public trust in FWPD.
- OPOM will monitor FWPD contact and complaint investigations to ensure that investigations are complete and thorough, identify broad patterns in investigations, and recommend policy and procedure changes.
- OPOM will review policies and procedures to ensure they meet or exceed policing best practices and address emerging trends as identified in our monitoring and auditing of FWPD practices.
- OPOM will audit FWPD training sessions, body-worn camera footage and use of force reports to ensure practices are reflective of departmental policies, identify patterns and trends, and recommend changes.
- OPOM will seek to create a mediation program to provide an effective alternative dispute resolution process. The mediation program will focus on conflict resolution and aim to improve community perceptions of police and the police-community relationship.
- OPOM will conduct regular community engagement activities with the goal of gathering input, listening to community perspectives and identifying solutions for how to best improve police-community relations.
- OPOM will collect and analyze data related to citizen complaints, uses of force, critical incidents and other types of reviews as well as conduct periodic analysis of data identifying patterns and trends.
- OPOM will provide periodic public reporting on the Office’s activities related to community engagement, auditing and review of policies and procedures. These public reports will also document the Office’s findings, data analysis and recommendations made to the FWPD and City Manager.
History of Civilian Oversight
The first assembly of citizens to receive complaints of misconduct against police officers date back to the 1920’s. The demand for citizen or community oversight first occurred in the 1940’s. Many of these early review procedures were short lived due to insufficient fiscal support, lack of resources and served as only venues to receive and review police complaints. Further development of community oversight was strongly influenced by the civil rights movement and the perception in many quarters that law enforcement responded to racial unrest with excessive force. For more information, click here.
Working with the OPOM
If you would like to hear more information about civilian oversight of law enforcement, community-police relations and various topics related to community encounters with the police, feel free to contact OPOM.
Updates from OPOM
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the OPOM has completed a number of activities in an effort to begin establishing the Office. These activities include:
- Conducted Initial meetings with multiple community organizations, city leaders, and FWPD personnel.
- Established a general email and phone number for the Office.
- Created a complaint form and began receiving and reviewing complaints, inquiries, commendations, use of force incidents, FWPD policies and procedures including, but not limited to use of force.
- Provided recommendations made in these reviews to the City Manager and the FWPD Police Chief.
- Conducted and/or attended periodic meetings set with the Police Chief, FWPD Professional Standards Division, Police Chief and Assistant Police Chief for Finance and
- Personnel, Independent Expert Panel, FWPD Command Staff, NACOLE Virtual Roundtable Sessions and other Texas Police Monitors.
- Worked with the City of Fort Worth to create an online complaint form, database management system, and OPOM needed directories for maintenance of OPOM files.
- Obtained Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) certification
- Received training on TX Public Information Act as well as met with the City Attorney's Office regarding OPOM functions and Texas Local Government Code Ann. Chapter 143.
- Maintained tracking of all contacts, meetings, FWPD reviews and OPOM recommendations and observations to FWPD.
- Continued to maintain and update its research on best practices in policing.
- Began working with the City of Fort Worth Communications and Public Engagement Department to establish a website, newsletter, listserv, social media presence and facilitate the virtual community collaboration sessions.
- Commenced conducting additional virtual community collaboration sessions.
- For a list of upcoming community collaboration sessions, please see our calendar.
Over the next few months, OPOM will seek to continue and/or commence the following activities.
- Continue to meet with community and criminal justice stakeholders.
- Continue to track OPOM activities, contacts and engagements.
- Recommend amendments to OPOM's enabling statute and draft OPOM’s Standard Operating Procedures; this includes formalizing our collaboration with FWPD.
- Conduct surveys of community members and FWPD police officers to establish a baseline understanding of police-community relationships in the City of Fort Worth.
- Continue to review and monitor inquiries, complaints, use of force, and FWPD policies and procedures.
- Review FWPD Body Worn Camera audits.
- Serve as a part of FWPD In-House Vacancy Review process.
- Serve as a member of FWPD's Use of Force Review Board.
- Commence tracking of complainant and police officer data to identify trends, patterns and circumstances in order to address root causes and recommend next steps including problem solving measures.Provide periodic updates regarding OPOM's activities to stakeholders.Conduct ongoing research of and communications with peer civilian oversight organizations and law enforcement organizations.Conduct additional virtual community collaboration sessions. Upcoming virtual community collaboration Sessions include:
- Continue to conduct Community Collaboration Sessions, see Calendar
Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of the Office of the Police Oversight Monitor (OPOM) is to promote public confidence in the professionalism and accountability of the sworn staff of the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD). This will be accomplished by independent review and monitor of citizen complaint investigations and use of force incidents; recommended changes to departmental policy, procedures, and practices; audit of departmental practices including data review and analyses; collaboration with the FWPD on problem-solving efforts to address root causes after the identification of patterns; mediation efforts; and conducting on-going community-police engagement outreach as well as dissemination of information regarding OPOM and its activities including periodic reporting. These responsibilities are key to reduce incidents of alleged police misconduct, and ultimately, improve relationships between the community and FWPD. OPOM is also tasked with providing a recommendation to the City Administration and City Council on a community oversight group. OPOM is currently collaborating with community and city stakeholders to determine the most appropriate and sustainable approach to community oversight for the city of Fort Worth.
No. OPOM works independently of the Fort Worth Police Department and provides the City’s leaders and the community with objective, unbiased reporting on policing data and OPOM activities and outcomes.
The City Manager selected eight national police reform experts to serve on a third-party panel and review Fort Worth Police Department policies and practices. This Independent Review Panel has extensive knowledge and policing experience in areas including applications of procedural justice, investigative best practices, bias-based policing and use of force. They will conduct a rigorous and completely independent review of the police department; a preliminary report documenting their findings and recommendations will be provided to the community and FWPD in late summer 2020.
Any member of the public can file a complaint. You do not need to be a Fort Worth resident or a U.S. citizen to file a complaint.
OPOM office accepts complaints about the Fort Worth Police Department via the following methods:
- Online: https:fortworthtexas.gov/opom/
- E-mail: PoliceOversight@fortworthtexas.gov
- In-person: To make an appointment please call (817) 392-6535. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
- By Mail: Download the Citizen Complaint Form (PDF). Print and fill out the form, then mail to:
Office of the Police Oversight Monitor br>200 Texas Street, 3rd floor
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
- Printed Copies: Printed copies of the complaint form are also provided at our office and your local Police Division, Community Center and/or Library.
Please provide all required information listed on the form; this includes the detailed description of the event(s) that led to this complaint such as date, time, and location of the event(s). Per Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code Ann. Chapter 143, in order for your complaint to be fully investigated by FWPD, your signature must be provided and verified under oath by an authorized public official. Information requested includes the names of the officer(s) involved, the names of potential witness(es), and your contact and demographic information. Your complaint must be a true and accurate account of the incident to the best of your knowledge. The more information you can provide, the better it will assist OPOM and FWPD in the complaint investigation process.
It is important that complaints be filed as soon as possible after the incident. According to Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code Ann. Chapter 143, any disciplinary action against an officer must be issued within 180 days of the incident. Therefore, it is imperative that a complaint is submitted as soon as possible after the incident. The following outlines the complaint process after a completed complaint form is received by our office.
- The Office of the Police Monitor receives your complaint.
- OPOM acknowledges receipt of your complaint.
- OPOM reviews and forwards your complaint to Fort Worth Police Department Internal Affairs for review and/or investigation. The FWPD complaint investigation can take up to 90 days.
- OPOM monitors the FWPD investigation.
- OPOM reviews the completed FWPD Internal Affairs investigation and provides recommendations to the FWPD as appropriate.
- OPOM notifies you once the review is completed.
Yes. You may choose to file an anonymous complaint; however, you must have first-hand knowledge of the incident, which means it must be an incident that you witnessed or were directly involved. Please note, should you choose to be anonymous, we will not be able to contact you with potential follow-up questions or provide you any information about the case. If you would like for our office to follow up with you, please be sure to provide your first and last name, phone number, and/or email or mailing address.
To thank a Fort Worth Police officer when he or she provides exceptional service to you, complete the FWPD Commendation Form (PDF) or call us at (817) 392-6535. If you provide your contact information, OPOM can keep you posted on its status.
All public records request must be submitted to the Public Records & Information Center. To find out more information about the public records request process, please visit the Public Records & Information Center website or call (817) 392-8184.
Part of OPOM’s mission is to educate the public about our work; this includes how to file a complaint and collaborate with the community regarding the FWPD.
Also, OPOM representatives create programming, events and attend existing community events. If you are interested in having OPOM meet with your community group or organization, please email PoliceOversight@fortworthtexas.gov or call (817) 392-6535.
The OPOM will publicly release periodic reports. These reports will outline our activities, provide an analysis of trends in FWPD policing including complaints and commendations, and provide an overview of OPOM policy and procedure recommendations made to FWPD. Other venues in which we may share this information include OPOM’s website, newsletter and social media platforms as well as the City of Fort Worth’s listserv. We also will continue to engage the community and FWPD by hosting and/or participating in community meetings, engagements and workshops.
To stay up to date on the activities of our office, you can visit us on the following platforms:
- Website: https://fortworthtexas.gov/opom/
- Twitter: @FWPoliceMonitor
- Facebook: @ Fort Worth Police Oversight
If at any time, you would like OPOM to mail information to community members who may not have access to these platforms, please contact us. We want to ensure that our information is accessible to all of the Fort Worth community.
We also welcome your comments and feedback. It is our mission to serve as a voice for all community members related to OPOM or FWPD activities. Thank you for allowing us to serve you!
The complaint process is vital to the promotion of police accountability and transparency. Upon receiving your complaint, the OPOM will review and identify potential allegations. OPOM will then forward your complaint to the FWPD Internal Affairs Unit for investigation. The FWPD complaint investigation can take up to 90 days. During that time, OPOM will confer with FWPD to monitor the investigation. Afterwards, OPOM will conduct a review of the FWPD investigation and provide recommendations as appropriate. You will be notified upon the completion of the OPOM review.
To file a complaint with our office, please click here.
To check on the status of your complaint or if you have any additional questions related to this matter please don't hesitate to contact us.
OPOM also welcomes your compliments of FWPD personnel. Once received, OPOM will also track the accolades and then forward them to the FWPD.
To submit a commendation, please click here.