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Fort Worth's police chief proposes creating his own community advisory board

Fort Worth's Chief of Police Neil Noakes shared his proposal for a community advisory board with city leaders on Tuesday.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth city council considered a new proposal from Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes on Tuesday.

During a work session, Noakes proposed his idea for a community advisory board.

“That’s how we hope to build trust… by showing accountability,” Noakes said.

The chief’s proposal comes a few months after council rejected the idea of creating a police advisory board.

“Our belief is the group that we’re putting together, diverse and knowledgeable citizens, will be able to accomplish what’s needed,” Noakes said.

But several council members had questions.

Under Noakes’s proposal, he gets to pick community members who will serve on the board. Tuesday, he revealed the names of 13 members he has already selected. His proposal allows for a board of up to 19 members.  

Several council members, including Chris Nettles, Elizabeth Beck, and Gyna Bivens, disagreed with the proposal. They argued that such a board should operate independently police.

“[Under this proposal] there’s more than a collaboration, there’s a work behind closed doors and that’s what we don’t want,” Nettles said.

“The fact that PD gets to pick them regardless of who’s on it casts a shadow over this particular board,” Beck said.

Nettles said the proposed board needed to include younger community members aged 25-30, and Mayor Mattie Parker agreed.

During a public comment council meeting Tuesday evening, Fort Worth resident Bishop Kirkland spoke out against the chief’s proposal.

“The chief’s advisory board is not what your constituency asked for,” Kirkland said. “Don’t ask us what we want, then when we attend, you tell us what we need.”

Mayor Mattie Parker put Tuesday’s discussion on the issue on pause and said they’ll continue the topic at a later date.

“This is probably one of the more difficult conversations we’ve had as a council. Probably the most divisive issue we face especially from the dais,” Parker said. “I am obviously open to the evolution of this conversation.”

It’s a conversation that’s far from over.

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