FORT WORTH, Texas - The Fort Worth City Council members welcomed their new police chief.
Neil Noakes has spent the last week as acting police chief, but it was made official Tuesday.
He was sworn in as Fort Worth’s newest police chief, which was approved unanimously by the city council.
With his wife and children by his side, Chief Noakes took his oath of office at the Fort Worth City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Noakes addressed the council members, expressing his gratitude to the city, his fellow officers, his family and outgoing Chief Ed Kraus for setting what he calls an amazing standard for community engagement.
Mayor Betsy Price says the city is lucky to have a "man of great faith with a servant’s heart" in Noakes.
The 20-year veteran of Fort Worth PD was selected for the job after a nationwide search came down to six finalists. He held several leadership positions in the department, including his latest as deputy chief for the last two years. He says he’s ready to focus on rebuilding community trust one citizen at a time.
"People want to be heard. They want to be understood. And one-on-one is the best way to do that," Noakes said. "Transparency is key. One of the best predictors of the success of a relationship is trust. And the relationship we want to have with the community is one built on trust. To be able to have that we have to be transparent."
Looking ahead, Noakes calls local and national homicide rates unacceptable. His plan is to focus police attention on areas of the city that need help solving issues that contribute to the homicide rate. His goal for the six months is to see the violent crime rate decrease significantly and those community relationships improved.
Chief Noakes said he believed in taking a regional approach to reducing crime in the greater Fort Worth area. He plans to reach out to other local police chiefs to start that conversation as soon as possible.