FWPD Chief Joel Fitzgerald tapped as Baltimore's new police commissioner

The mayor of Baltimore says she's chosen Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald as her city's new police commissioner.

Despite her announcement, Fort Worth officials say the chief has not turned in a resignation.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced on Friday that Fitzgerald is their new police commissioner. He confirmed that he is the Baltimore’s mayor nominee.

Fitzgerald also said that the Baltimore City Council must formally approve him as their new police commissioner. But those familiar with Baltimore City Hall say it’s as good as done.

Officially, Fort Worth City Hall and the Fort Worth Police Department will only say Chief Fitzgerald is the final candidate in Baltimore, but he has not submitted a letter of resignation.

One of the more high profile cases was the racially-charged arrest of Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters in 2016. Fitzgerald had been chief for about a year at the time. Since the Craig case, there have been other cases that have drawn protests.

Bob Ray Sanders is a co-chair of Fort Worth’s race and culture task force. He thinks the chief felt like it was time for him to move on.

“The chief himself thought he was under siege in the last few months. People calling for his resignation or firing,” Sanders said. “He was called names within city council sessions and felt he was losing his support among some members of the city council and even within the city manager’s office.”

The Fort Worth Police Association president says he believes Fitzgerald’s departure will be a loss for the department. He also says after three or four years, new ideas are welcome.

“He’s leaving to get away from a situation that was untenable to him,” Sanders said. “That’s sad. That’s just the truth.”

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