“The grant will allow us to embark on promising approaches to building stronger, culturally sensitive community-police relationships in the City of Fort Worth,” Kim Neal, head of the OPOM, said in a press statement.
Neal joined the city as the department’s first leader after it was established in March 2020.
The city council memorandum about the grant was short on details regarding the new restorative justice mediation program.
There are varying perspectives on restorative justice efforts. The Christian ministry Prison Fellowship International takes the view of “repair[ing] the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions.”
However, Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ), which works more directly with police departments, states that “[t]he concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded within restorative practices, which proceed from the belief that everyone holds a piece of the truth. C4RJ embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as the way to fully realize our values.”
The grant to Fort Worth came from the North Texas Community Foundation’s Fund to Advance Racial Equity.
The fund was created in 2020, the same year as the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests, “to provide grants for nonprofits and municipal entities working to achieve a more equitable community for all.”
Fort Worth established the OPOM based on recommendations from the Fort Worth Task Force on Race and Culture and after the killing of Atatiana Jefferson by an officer during a “welfare check” in 2019.
The OPOM has two “community conversations” events coming up on July 12 and 18 where the public is invited to hear updates about the progress of the OPOM and get answers to their questions.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.