Fort Worth, Tx., police chief Joel Fitzgerald will be Baltimore’s selection for the city’s next police commissioner, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told Dallas media. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh refused to confirm Fitzgerald’s selection.
Fort Worth, Tx., police chief Joel Fitzgerald will be Baltimore’s selection for the city’s next police commissioner, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told Dallas media. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh refused to confirm Fitzgerald’s selection. She said she was still in her vetting process and is on track to name the new commissioner by the end of the month after a nationwide search, the Baltimore Sun reports. The incoming police commissioner will become the fifth to lead the Baltimore department since 2015. The department has struggled with unprecedented violence while trying to regain the community’s trust after the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody and the federal racketeering case against members of the rogue, now disgraced Gun Trade Task Force.
City Councilman Brandon Scott, chairman of the public safety committee, said he has no information from Pugh on the choice. If Fitzgerald is chosen, Scott wants to know whether Fitzgerald’s track record is one of effectively reducing violence using community policing and if he has ever had to deal with a consent decree, as Baltimore must. Fitzgerald was also a longtime Philadelphia police officer and is from the Philadelphia area. He has previously served as police chief in Missouri City, Tx., and Allentown, Pa. He took the Fort Worth position in 2015. In Fort Worth, after the leak of body-camera footage led to the discipline of two high-ranking police commanders in 2017, two local ministers called for Fitzgerald’s removal. Also last year, a survey of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association showed 84 percent of respondents indicating morale had declined during Fitzgerald’s tenure.