Interim Chief Ed Kraus named Fort Worth police chief

The Fort Worth Police Department says Interim Chief Ed Kraus is now the new permanent police chief.                   

The department announced Wednesday that the Fort Worth city manager offered Kraus the job and that he accepted.

Kraus has been interim chief since May and has been with the department for 26 years. He was previously an executive assistant and was the liaison between the department and the race and culture task force.

Kraus has been dealing with controversy, including the deadly shooting of Fort Worth resident Atatiana Jefferson in her own home in October by an officer who resigned before Kraus had a chance to fire him.

"After the Atatiana Jefferson shooting, it knocked us back several flights of stairs in terms of building community trust. We have a lot of work to do, that pushed us back and we have to double our efforts to reach out to those groups," Kraus said at an introductory press conference on Thursday.

A longstanding member of the Fort Worth community, Bob Ray Sanders, said Kraus was a good candidate to take over.

"I've seen him work, I've seen him learn and I've seen him apply that learning to real situations in this community since he's been acting chief,” Sanders said.

Sanders, a member of the Race and Culture Task Force, recalled Kraus was the panel’s police liaison after it was formed three years ago after the racially charged Jacqueline Craig arrest.

"We need a person to come in, already has the contacts, already has some endearment from the community if you will, and he's ready to go to work and already is working. To have to spend another six months of finding someone then two more years of learning the city, I'm not sure Fort Worth can handle that,” Sanders said.

Sanders says confidence in Kraus continued to rise following the shooting death of Jefferson. The now-former officer faces a murder charge.

"He handled it in a way that no police chief in Fort Worth has handled that kind of situation before,” Sanders said.

Proof of that was seen just minutes after the announcement on Thursday.

One of Jefferson's relatives who lives in Dallas showed up at the news conference to tell Kraus thank you.

“Something just told me, I saw it on the news and I said hey I need to go over and say thank you, congratulate him and tell the people of Fort Worth know they have a great man,” said Michael Sneed.

Fired Fort Worth Chief Joel Fitzgerald had been trying to get his job back. Last month, he lost a legal fight to prevent the city from filling the position. A judge declined to extend a temporary restraining order Fitzgerald had gotten that prevented the city from doing that.

The city manager had said Fitzgerald was let go after three and a half years because of issues with his leadership and judgment.