Fort Worth to resume running photos of sex offenders in newspaper
January 16, 2001
FORT WORTH -- Photographs of convicted sex offenders are
again being published in the Star-Telegram.
The Fort Worth Police Department decided to start running the
photographs again this month, after determining that the public
favored the move, Police Chief Ralph Mendoza said Tuesday.
"We weren't aware that the public wanted it," Mendoza said. "I
compare it to running a business -- you try something, see its
effect, and if it doesn't work, try something else."
A few photos have appeared in the newspaper, but Police
Department officials said the ads will run regularly every
Saturday, beginning Jan. 27.
The department stopped running the photographs in August,
opting for a less costly text-only ad.
The decision became an issue in late December at City Hall when
Councilwoman Becky Haskin asked why the photographs were no
longer being published.
Police officials said the state does not require them to run the
photographs because they are available on the Internet at the
Texas Department of Public Safety's Web site, records.txdps.state.tx.us.
But Haskin said she was pleased that the photographs were being
"We got lots of calls from people and their point was, 'How can
we be expected to know what that person looks like from just a
description? We've got to have a picture,'" she said.
Police officials said there is enough money in the budget to run
the ads through Sept. 30, the end of this fiscal year. The
Star-Telegram did not lower its advertising rates to
accommodate the department, company officials said.
The Police Department, which has allocated about $80,000 this
year for the sex offender notices, said its advertising costs began
doubling in September 1999 when a state law governing the ads
The law requires the city to disclose offenders' risk factors, such
as the likelihood that they will engage in criminal sexual conduct,
as well as name, age, offense, new address and other standard
Source: Star-Telegram Local News, by Ginger D. Richardson