A new Fort Worth Police unit that went live this weekend will help the department better investigate use of force, a police sergeant said.
Officers received an email Monday that notified them of the creation of the Force Analysis Unit. The unit is run by five lieutenants who were previously on the midnight shift.
“The Unit’s goals are to provide consistency, in-depth analysis and ease the field review process by the Chain of Command,” according to the email, which was provided to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by a source who was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The unit is the brainchild of Lt. Ward Robinson, who was already reviewing use of force cases.
“He saw we could approve what we were already doing by creating a new unit to capture better data,” Sgt. Amelia Heise said in an interview Wednesday. “We also received feedback from the police monitor, who asked for us to standardize use of force reporting.”
This unit will analyze any use of force that is reported.
“Every time use of force occurs, officers have to call field supervisors and fill out the use of force data on the offense report,” she said. “That would trigger an administrative review.”
The unit’s review will check for justification, de-escalation, compliance with policy and consistency with training. The lieutenants will also work with the Use of Force Review Board and the training academy. It will not make any discipline recommendations and will not take responsibility away from an officer’s chain of command.
The process for reviewing misconduct and complaints from the public has not changed, Heise said.
The unit could review on average 120 to 140 incidents in a month, which encompasses about 1% of calls.
“With this new unit, we’ll be able to capture more data, we’ll have more robust reporting and our final year of end reports will be more robust,” Heise said.