The Crime Control Prevention District board voted unanimously this week to increase its fiscal year 2022 budget to $94.9 million, or an increase of $8.3 million.
No members of the public signed up for the public hearing. After the vote, Mayor Mattie Parker suggested having a work session to increase public engagement with the budget.
“That seems like a lot of money, and we want to make sure the public understands what we’re going to do with that,” Parker said.
What is the Crime Control and Prevention District
The Crime Control and Prevention District is a special purpose tax district created by Texas Code 363 for Texas tax law purposes. Citizens voted for the creation of the tax in 1995. Voters continued the district for five-year periods in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2014. In 2020, voters continued the district for a 10-year period.
The district’s mission is “to enhance the Fort Worth Police Department’s ability to provide quality service and to work in partnership with the community to reduce crime and to create a safe environment for all,” according to its website.
Tamera Hutcherson, a 25-year-old organizer for the Texas Jail Project, spoke to the board and was concerned with the budget’s accessibility.
“The last time I checked, the CCPD website does not even have the proposed budget posted,” Hutcherson said. “(…) One of the goals of the CCPD is to provide opportunities for citizens to learn about CCPD; That’s directly stated on the website. I feel like there are no active steps to engage the community through social media to inform the public about these important decisions.”
The new budget runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2022. This budget is the district’s largest increase in the past several years. The fiscal year 2021 budget is $86.6 million. For fiscal year 2020, it was about $85 million; in 2019, it was $84 million.
Sales tax makes up the largest part of the district’s revenue. Chief Neil Noakes said the sales tax performed “better than expected,” allowing for an 11.1% increase from fiscal year 2021. Total revenues increased 9.7% from fiscal year 2021.
Another reason for increased revenue, Noakes said, includes the district expecting to “ramp up” revenue from events, whereas last fiscal year’s event revenue was impacted by COVID-19.
Former Police Chief Ed Kraus proposed in August 2020 to reduce the Crime Control and Prevention District’s budget for equipment and enhanced enforcement, while increasing funding for crime prevention, community programs and recruitment and training.
How the Crime Control Prevention sales tax works
“Revenue from the ½ cent sales tax serves a role in providing the necessary resources to effectively implement crime reduction strategies pertaining to enhanced enforcement, neighborhood crime prevention, partner programs, recruitment and training, and department equipment, technology, and infrastructure. These strategies may include deploying officers on an enhanced basis to respond to emerging problems, supporting citizen participation and crime prevention programs, replacing vehicles and other equipment critical to crime control, increasing security at schools, and/or providing an adequate number of officers throughout Fort Worth’s neighborhoods–just to name a few,” according to the Crime Control and Prevention District’s website.
In 2020 Kraus wanted to put more community-based services in the district’s budget to “make a clear distinction between some of the more traditional standard police services that we would keep in the general fund and the enhancement would keep in the CCPD,” he said.
The approved fiscal year 2022 budget’s greatest increases were recruitment and training and community partnerships. But funding for equipment and enhanced enforcement also increased from fiscal year 2020.
“Enforcement will always be part of what we do as long as people are breaking the law,” Noakes said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We do everything we can to provide people with the resources and tools they need to be successful. We know we want to rest away at a crime but this is part of what we do.”
Here is a snapshot of the spending:
Recruitment and training
- The greatest funding increase
- Up 88.5% from fiscal year 2020
- $11.1 million total in funding for fiscal year 2022
The department had 94 vacancies at the end of July and expects to see that number go up because of attrition, Noakes said.
“Compared to some other (Texas) cities (…) we’re doing better,” Noakes said. “We have done really well as far as recruitment and better with retention. But it seems all agencies, regardless of size, are facing issues with attrition as well.”
The department expects to have 115 vacancies by November, but reduce the vacancies to 79 in December when the next recruits graduate. The department projects 13 vacancies in September 2023.
Hutcherson voiced concern about whether the department is hiring and recruiting officers, particularly in the Crisis Intervention Team, who are racially representative of the people they serve. The police department is 60% white and 76% male, according to the department’s June 30, 2021, demographics/diversity report. Though the board did not further discuss this concern at the meeting, District 8 Councilmember Chris Nettles thanked Hutcherson for speaking.
Neighborhood Crime Prevention
- Increased 6.2% from fiscal year 2020
- $22.7 million total in funding for fiscal year 2022
- Largest increases: Community Programs Administration and Community Service Officer program
- Largest decrease: Graffiti Abatement Program because vehicles were purchased on the previous budget and will not be purchased again.
Partners with a Shared Mission
- Increased 12.6% from fiscal year 2020
- $8.8 million in funding
- Funding goes toward external organizations with youth programs, domestic violence and sexual assault programs, gang intervention, etc.
- All nine programs saw equal or increased funding except after-school programs
- Increased 4.1% from the fiscal year 2020
- $24.1 million in total funding
- Increases to bike patrol programs, Strategic Operations Fund program and mounted patrol.
- Greatest decrease was to the COPS Hiring Match Program.
The COPS Hiring Match program is a grant that allowed for 13 new officer positions last fiscal year. The department purchased outfitting, equipment and vehicles for the new positions, which are not required again for fiscal year 2022.
Decreases in other categories of the fiscal year 2022 budget were similarly because of hiring and equipment purchases last fiscal year that won’t be necessary this fiscal year.
Other decreases, like to the Code Blue program, a citizen volunteer patrol, occurred because of “increased efficiencies,” Noakes said.
“There are some days we had Christmas parties with the volunteers to show how much we appreciate them,” Noakes said. “We were doing six different (events) throughout the city. We found bringing them all together saved us a considerable amount of money.”
Equipment, technology and infrastructure
- Increased 0.6% from fiscal year 2022
- $25.3 million total in funding
- Most programs saw no change in funding
- Decreased 4.6% from the fiscal year 2020
- $1.02 million total in funding
Contributions to Capital Projects
- Decreased 18.74% from fiscal year 2020
- $1.8 million total in funding
- The district funds some projects laid out in the city’s five-year capital improvement program.
2022 Development Grant
- Maximum $50,000 for one-year grants
- Maximum $300,000 for three-year grants
- The board approved $297,893 to seven one-year grants. It approved $2.4 million in eight three-year grants
- Fiscal year 2021 included $511,200 in one-year grants and $1.2 million in three-year grants.
Along with the fiscal year 2022 budget, the district board approved one-year funding for the fiscal year 2022 Development Grants Request for Proposals. These funds will go toward nonprofit agencies that “serve the public in addressing community crime and safety issues.”
The approved programs include the Center for Jail Transformation, LVTRise, Christ’s Haven, NewDay Services for Children & Families, The Parenting Center, Rivertree Academy and Unbound.
The next Crime Control and Prevention District meeting is set for Nov. 9 in Room 290 at City Hall. This is the district’s last quarterly meeting for 2021.