In the interest of providing uniform information to the public and
the media regarding the kidnapping incident in May of this year in the Ryan
Place Neighborhood, the following information is being provided. These
responses are a follow up to inquiries received in a Ryan Place town hall
meeting that occurred shortly after the original call for service.
The notification system, known as Amber Alert, is a tiered system
that includes a Regional, State, and National (NCMEC – National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children) classification, each with differing and unique
standards. The regional notification is sent to designated radio and
communications stations which activates the Emergency Alert System and
broadcasts across communication airwaves. This is done even if a full Amber
Alert is not initiated. The Regional notification alone is not sufficient to
trigger a full Amber Alert. The decision to initiate the full Amber Alert (cell
phones, road signs, etc.) is determined at the State level and vetted through
NCMEC. This decision is not made by the FWPD and is normally based on known
credible information (such as license plates, unique identifiers, etc.). This
notification was made properly during this incident. A full scale Amber Alert will
not typically be broadcast with extremely limited or very broad descriptors
(i.e. gray 4-door car). The Fort Worth Police Department has since worked with
regional AMBER alert partners to include an e-mail as well as a fax component
to ensure information is received in a timely and useable format to improve the
quality of information shared.
Ryan Place Follow-Up:
FWPD policies have changed to address the known failures of the FWPD’s Amber
FWPD Regional notification policy was amended to include email notifications
along with facsimile (fax) notifications. The original policy only allowed for
fax notification due to limitations of the receiving parties (radio stations).
On the night of the abduction, technical issues in the Command Post prevented
the fax notification from happening. As it was explained at the town hall
meeting, the FWPD recognized the need for a backup solution . Within 24
hours the Radio Stations added an email address at the request of the FWPD.
The stations also recognized that their notification process was outdated and
forward we will make the Regional notification via Fax and Email, followed up
immediately by a direct phone call verifying they have received the
notification as well as clarifying the content.
State notification is made by submitting a form (questionnaire) via email. This
notification was made in a timely manner during the Salem abduction. We had
very little information at the start. A full scale Alert was set to go out at
06:00 a.m. the following morning, even with limited information.
Thankfully, this was not needed.
notifications are initiated by detectives in the field and submitted to our
Communications Center, who will then forward to the appropriate entity and
follow up with a phone call to ensure receipt.
only Missing Persons Detectives had the capability to submit Amber information.
Now, all Major Case Detectives, as well as Supervisors, have the ability to
send this information from their assigned laptops.
has FWPD modified its social media policy so that officers on the scene are
able to disseminate information during an emergency more effectively?
our PIO team was there quickly in this incident, our new plan will notify them
immediately when there is a confirmed abduction. It is of the utmost importance
to disseminate only credible and complete information that has been vetted. To
publish incomplete or inaccurate information only proves to exacerbate our
issues and potentially tie up investigators and citizen resources chasing false
or unrelated leads.
barriers prevent FWPD from quickly alerting and engaging with neighborhood
leaders during emergencies?
mentioned above, and at the town hall meeting, it is a disservice to the
investigation and ultimately a successful conclusion, to immediately forward
information that has not been scrutinized for accuracy. The FWPD is very proud
of the relationship we have developed with the neighborhoods, leaders, and
citizens and we welcome their involvement and assistance. In a crisis situation
such as this, information is received at a hectic pace. Once we are certain the
information is authentic, there is an immense value in public dissemination.
our plan for a response team, there will be a designated individual who will
address directly involved neighborhoods and citizen volunteers. This will
be coordinated with other individuals on the team responsible for
disseminating information to the public at large.
barrier is the ease at which information can be forwarded on social media
through a “friends” network. Information provided outside the official FWPD
channel, which is often inaccurate, false, or misleading, can quickly lead to
an unnecessary expansion of the search or the investigation, again limiting
resources that can be utilized in a more effective way. We will continuously
push information out to the public via Facebook and Twitter.
resources are unavailable to FWPD and/or what practices are not able to be
implemented or modified due to budget constraints?
this incident, the FBI CARD (Child Abduction Rapid Deployment) team was
activated and in route should it have become necessary. The FBI offered
numerous resources to supplement the FWPD. The FWPD has used this incident to
strengthen our relationship with partner agencies including the FBI. In July,
we attended Command Level training at the NCMEC in Virginia. In addition,
we are currently updating our FWPD Response team in partnership with the FBI.
the future, if we have a confirmed abduction, an alert notification will be
sent by our Communications Division to all personnel appointed to our FWPD
Missing and Abducted Child Response Team. All members will respond
immediately to the scene and take charge of the duties assigned to their
particular area of expertise. All efforts will be coordinated through a
predetermined chain of command that will ensure we are operating as planned.
constraints do have an impact on internal equipment needs. We currently have an
aging fleet of Mobile Command Posts that are in need of replacement and this is
in process. While this was an obstacle, it did not prevent FWPD from
completing the mission at hand.
Why has the Citizen Review Board not been created?
The Citizen Review Board was one of the recommendations from the Race
and Culture Task Force. They presented their recommendations to City
Council in December 2018. The City Manager has recommended the
funding of a Police Monitor in the FY20 budget. If the position is
funded, the city hopes to have someone in the position at the beginning of the
fiscal year. Once that person is in place, he/she will work with staff and
the City Council to determine the next steps for the Citizen Review Board.
Staff provides regular updates to City Council on all of the
recommendations from the task force. Regular updates on this item will be
a part of that update