Fort Worth welcomes new police chief

The City of Fort Worth welcomed its new police chief on Monday afternoon.

Joel Fitzgerald is Fort Worth's first African-American police chief.

He is making a significant jump from his last job as police chief in Allentown, PA, a city of 120,000 people.

He has years of experience and says he's looking forward to the challenge that his new position brings. Fitzgerald has his doctorate and master’s in business administration, but he’s asking everyone to drop the “Dr.” title in front of his name.

Before Allentown, he spent four years as police chief in Missouri City, TX.

He's won awards for his community policing, but leaves behind eight different lawsuits filed against Allentown officers alleging misconduct just in the last year.

The Mayor of Allentown, Ed Pawlowski, told FOX 4 over the phone, "Lawsuits are common in any city across the country. I don't think it's reflective of anything he did. He's a great chief, and we're sorry to see him leave.”

Fitzgerald says with regard to controversial police shootings around the country, there is a need to be proactive as a department.

“We can avoid some of the pitfalls that some of the other cities have seen by just having better relationships with members of the community,” he said. “Having better understanding as to where people are coming from and what we’re charged to do as an organization, and sometimes it’s a little more than just being the occupying force. Sometimes, it’s involving ourselves in the fabric of what goes on in the community.”