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Fort Worth Police Department budget proposal shifts funds to community services

Fort Worth police chief Ed Kraus wants to create a team of nonsworn civilians that could answer nonviolent calls.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nonsworn civilians could replace Fort Worth police officers when answering some nonviolent calls, if a plan by Chief Ed Kraus gets approved.

The chief proposed the Community Service Professional Program during a presentation to Mayor Betsy Price and council members at a Friday work session.

Community-based programs would see a boost of about $1.76 million, and after-school programs could see an additional $250,000.

Money would also be set aside to train and certify all officers as mental health peace officers and create a team of 10 civilians that could respond to nonviolent calls.

“We recognize there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement,” Kraus said in his presentation titled Re-envisioning the CCPD. “This proposal comes before you with input from much of our staff after considering a lot of the good ideas that have been floating out there in the wake of the COVID pandemic and the George Floyd murder.”

The proposal would reduce Crime Control and Prevention District funding for things like equipment, infrastructure and enhanced enforcement in the next fiscal year.

The proposal comes after months of protests where some demanded the city take money away from the police department and invest in similar programs.

Price said she has no plans to defund the department but does support the chief’s recommendations.

“I’m never going to support defunding our police department and I don’t believe the majority of this council will either,” Price said at Friday’s work session. “This is not a significant reduction even in our police department. This is a shifting of services.”

The CCPD provides revenue from a half-cent sales tax that generates over $80 million for police department initiatives to reduce and prevent crime.

Despite calls to defund the police, voters approved a 10-year extension of the CCPD in July.