Joel Fitzgerald, head of the third-largest municipal police department in Pennsylvania since 2013, has been selected as the new Fort Worth police chief, succeeding Jeff Halstead, who announced his resignation last November.
Fitzgerald currently serves as chief of the Allentown, Pa., police department. He was appointed to that role in December 2013.
He previously served as chief in Missouri City, Texas from 2009-2013 and in the Philadelphia Police Department between 1992 and 2009.
“Chief Fitzgerald’s more than 20 years of experience, combined with his strong leadership skills and his personal commitment to community engagement and involvement, make him the best choice to lead the Fort Worth Police Department in this new era of community policing,” City Manager David Cooke said in a statement.
“In every position he has served, Chief Fitzgerald has been instrumental in those agencies becoming standard-bearers among jurisdictions seeking to promote community problem-solving and abate violent crime,” he added.
Fitzgerald has earned numerous awards over his career, including the 2010 NAACP President’s Award for Community Policing, a Police Officer of the Year Award and honors from Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, and the Texas State House of Representatives.
He is slated to receive the 2015 Champion of Equality Award from the Bradbury-Sullivan Center, a LGBT community center in Allentown, on Oct. 11 for requiring a LGBT cultural competency training for all police officers and “an impressive policy” regarding police interaction with transgender individuals.
He holds a doctorate in business administration and serves on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Forensics Committee and the Northcentral University School of Business and Technology Program Advisory Committee.
He is expected to begin work in Fort Worth on Oct. 19.
“Chief Fitzgerald will be a dynamic asset to Fort Worth,” Cooke said. “He brings to our city a vast amount of experience, knowledge and service in the field, along with his passion for serving and protecting our communities.”
The City Council will consider a resolution appointing Fitzgerald as police chief at their regularly scheduled council meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St.