Last week Fort Worth residents voted overwhelmingly to continue the Fort Worth Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD) and the 0.5 percent sales tax that funds it for ten years. The vote breakdown was approximately 64 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.
The CCPD was created in 1995 and was subsequently renewed in 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2014. It was set to expire on September 30, 2020 if not renewed during the July election. The original renewal election was set for May 2, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the election to July.
The CCPD is expected to generate approximately $81 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2020.
Mayor Betsy Price praised the continuation of the CCPD saying, “This continues funding for critical community programs that reduce crime and foster positive community-police interactions.”
City Councilmembers Jungus Jordan and Cary Moon also spoke in favor of the CCPD continuation.
Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) vocally opposed the continuance of the CCPD. Fort Worth Futures and other advocacy groups who are in favor of reducing police funding dramatically urged Fort Worth residents to oppose the proposition.
“Very little of this tax actually goes to mitigating crime and violence in our communities,” Pamela Young of Fort Worth Futures said.
As proposed, the largest program portion of 2020 CCPD funding of over $24 million will go to enhanced enforcement that provides “officers in schools throughout Fort Worth, traffic management at designated special events, security at parks/community facilities, and funding for special details and additional SWAT and Special Response Team officers to respond to emerging crime trends and to target violent crime.”
A healthy sum of $16 million goes to neighborhood crime prevention programs.
Some of the criticisms about the CCPD surround its management and accountability. According to the city, the district is managed by a nine-member Board of Directors that establishes the annual budget and other policies.
Price is the president of the CCPD Board of Directors and the other eight members are Fort Worth city councilmembers.
Day-to-day administration of district-funded programs is handled by the Fort Worth Police Department.
Several advocacy groups have demanded that the city of Fort Worth defund the CCPD and drastically reduce general funding to the police department. The city plans to present its proposed budget to the city council for consideration on August 11.
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Kim Roberts is a 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.