More patrols coming to Fort Worth’s West 7th entertainment district – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


Fort Worth City Council members have approved a pilot ambassador program to help improve safety in the West 7th Street Entertainment District.

The move comes after a man fatally shot Texas Christian University student Wes Smith in the area in the fall of 2023.

The city is contracting with Block by Block, the same company that currently runs the ambassador program downtown.

City council approved a $315,000 contract but said the actual amount used will depend on the police department’s need and available budget.

According to city documents, police say ambassadors help create safety for visitors by being visible, de-escalating aggressive situations, and interacting with property and business owners as well as others who might need social services.

Ambassadors will also greet visitors and offer general help. They’ll document all their interactions using a special software system that will let Block by Block create reports for police of all the services they’ve offered, as well as pinpoint problem areas or trends that need to be addressed.

“It’s just really an extra set of eyes to help our officers, to help our civilians feel safe,” said Fort Worth Police Officer Tracy Carter.

He said the West 7th District will get three to four ambassadors, whom they hope to have on the streets by the end of spring or the beginning of summer.

Carter said if the program is successful and the city wants to keep it going past November, they’ll need to create a Public Improvement District (PID) for long-term funding.

“We’re hoping that taxpayers down there will vote on it, and then they’ll put money into this PID fund, and that will help support it going forward,” Carter explained.

According to city documents, more areas could be incorporated into the program as necessary.

Emil Bragdon said he supports the idea of a PID to invest in programs that will beautify the district and improve security. Still, he’s unsure how effective the ambassador program will be.

“I’m curious to see the impact it’s going to have on the area, and whenever that gets enacted, you know, 30 days after that, I’m… pretty sure all the business owners will have a firm grasp of how beneficial it has or has not been,” he said.

Bragdon, who owns several restaurants and bars in the area, feels the district has always been relatively safe and that Smith’s murder isn’t indicative of the area.

“Something like that that happens is catastrophic, it really is,” he said. “I’m very confident that we do have a safe area. Am I 100% confident that nothing will ever happen? Absolutely not. But I can go grocery shopping and not be 100% confident that something’s not going to happen.”

He and other business owners hire off-duty police officers to help keep customers and staff safe.

Carter said the police department also has two bike patrol teams in the area, as well as foot and car patrols and even special operation details.

“We have a lot of good presence now. We have to keep that presence in order for this area to flourish. That’s now and into the future,” Bragdon said.

Although he feels safe, he says more security measures, like the ambassador program, are always a good thing.

“Anytime we can push the envelope on safety for our guests and our staff, we’re going to do it,” he said.

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