FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Look on the back of most Fort Worth police cars and you’ll see likely see painted on the back or side a sign that states it’s funded by the Crime Control and Prevention District, or CCPD.
Voters approved the taxing district to pay for community policing back in 1995. Now, it pays for 238 personnel, mostly officers on patrol in neighborhoods.
“Ooooooo! Look at these ribs!!” exclaimed Rosco Corasco, assistant manger at Smokey’s BBQ on Lancaster as he hoisted a slab of ribs from a warmer onto his cutting board as he prepared a customer’s plate.
Not too many years ago, the building housing Smokey’s was surrounded by crime and graffiti scrawled on dumpsters and fences.
“People are not afraid to come out and buy some barbeque at 8 or 9 o’clock like they used to be,” Corasco said. “After dark our business used to taper off. But now, with the police in the community active and being seen, that’s increased our business quite a bit.”
Just down the street at the city library and job training center, Jasmyn Wright uses city computers to look for work and prepare resumes. She said she sees the officers near schools watching the children as she comes to the library.
“I saw a police officer a couple of days ago sitting in the median making sure everybody is using the crosswalks to make sure of where they’re crossing at just to make sure everybody’s safe,” Wright said.
The district’s 2012 budget $56-million is 20-percent of the department’s budget. They’re asking taxpayers for input about where the money is most needed and what policing tactic is most effective in each neighborhood.
“After all it is the citizens who are willing to vote this in and tax themselves at a half cent sales tax on themselves to fund this,” said Fort Worth Deputy Police Chief Rhonda Robertson. “So we very much want to know what their priorities are so that we’re spending the money the way they want us to spend it.”
It’s funding Corasco said his neighborhood needs. Without it “we’d probably be closing a little bit earlier because of the neighborhood we’re in,” he laughed.
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