Best Practices


Mayor Kay Granger

Neighborhood Patrol Officer (NPO)

Prior to the development of the NPO Program there was a lack of direct communication between the patrol officers and the citizens of Fort Worth. Citizens were typically unaware of who was their beat officer. Citizens also expressed concerns regarding the types of crimes occurring in their neighborhoods.

The Department as a whole addressed citizens' concerns by implementing the Neighborhood Patrol Officer Program whereby officers were assigned an area of responsibility and developed contact with the citizens of that area. Being freed from routine patrol duties the NPOs were able to meet with citizens and direct them into an organized effort. A direct outgrowth of the NPO concept has been Citizens on Patrol. The West Division currently has over 700 Citizens on Patrol. In addition, the West Division has more Crime Watch blocks than all three of the other geographical divisions combined. None of these citizen efforts are compensated.

As a result of the integrated efforts of the police of the West Division and the citizens, we were able to achieve a significant reduction in crime during 1993. Productivity and efficiency has been increased due to the numerous citizen contacts that have been developed. Citizens have volunteered to assist in various NPO activities and have taken a general interest in their neighborhoods.

Contact: Captain R. L. Parker, (817) 871-5005


Decentralized Training for the Citizens on Patrol (COPS)

One of the major components of the federal Weed and Seed initiative is community policing. Community policing involves the police working with residents to develop solutions to the problems which plague their communities. This strategy will allow citizens to establish control of their neighborhoods, provide incentives for continued participation, and vastly improve opportunities for revitalization. One of the primary programs that is training citizens to assist in "taking back" their neighborhoods is the Citizens on Patrol (COPS) Program. This innovative training is designed to instruct citizens on how to actively become the eyes and ears of their neighborhoods. The program introduces participants to the penal code, observation techniques, and other law enforcement issues.

Training for this program is conducted by the Police Training Division and coordinated at the divisional level by a Community Relations Officer (CRO) or Neighborhood Patrol Officer (NPO). The problem encountered by Weed and Seed NPOs was the inability to expediently schedule and train interested volunteers from their assigned neighborhoods.

NPOs decentralized training for their respective neighborhoods in order to address problems that occurred more frequently in the Weed and Seed neighborhoods. The NPOs tailored courses and information to emphasize the areas of motivation, burglary, dealing with drug houses, and reporting criminal offenses,, and they provide a step-by-step explanation of the flow of information from citizens to police through the Communications Division.

COPS training was conducted in the respective Weed and Seed neighborhoods which include Stop Six, Near Southeast, and Polytechnic Heights. NPOs set a goal of 14 participants from each neighborhood in the program. Potential participants were contacted via word-of-mouth, phone calls, and solicitation at regular monthly meetings. NPOs then obtained a training site, contracted speakers, and prepared training materials for the two-day session. Training was facilitated by the respective NPOs for that area.

The decentralization of training has given the NPOs the capacity to train more volunteers in a greatly reduced time frame than previously possibly. Forty-seven citizens have attended the COPS training provided by Weed and Seed NPOs.

Contact: Sergeant N.E. James, (817) 871-7105


Digital Transcription System

Officers waiting to call in offense reports to Data Entry Criminal Offense Reports (DECOR) operators spent over 24,000 hours in nonproductive time because their calls could not be promptly handled by an operator.

The Fort Worth Police Department has leased/purchased a digital transcription system that allows its officers to call in their police reports without any waiting time. This system saves the 24,000 hours of nonproductive time the officers spent waiting on DECOR and allows officers to dictate their reports in approximately half the time it takes to dictate a report to an operator.

Full implementation of this system began in May 1994 and is projected to save nearly $900,000 in officer and detective time which can be devoted to their law enforcement activities. This should result in increased efficiency in DECOR and may result in salary savings of between $60,000 and $180,000 per year.

Contact: Captain T. J. Brown, (817) 871-8001


Data Entry Criminal Offense Reports Improvements

In 1992, DECOR had 45 authorized positions and, because of a backlog of calls, a budget request for an additional 13 positions. Due to the backlog, officers had to wait an average of 13.3 minutes per call before being allowed to call in their offense reports.

Employee workgroups were initiated and the entire section focused on continuous improvement based on some of the training received by the IMR consulting group.

Salary savings of over $172,000 were achieved for 1993. Overtime was reduced by over 70 percent -- another $61,000 in savings. These hard dollar savings will be repeated yearly. Employees were given an additional pay raise of seven percent and many needed equipment items were purchased. The average waiting time for officers in 1993 dropped to 12 minutes, and in the early months of 1994 it had been reduced to 8.6 minutes.

Contact: Captain T. J. Brown, (817) 877-8001

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.