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Reports: Forth Worth, Texas Police Chief to become BPD Commissioner

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Fort Worth Texas Police Department
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Forth Worth, Texas Police Chief, Dr. Joel Fitzgerald

Multiple media outlets in Fort Worth are reporting Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is leaving that post and is headed to Baltimore to take over as police commissioner. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, confirmed the move Friday morning.

James Bentley, Press Secretary for Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh,  said in a statement "The process is still underway and no decision has been made as of yet."  Mayor Pugh had said that she wanted to have a new police commissioner in place by the end of this month.  At least one Baltimore City Council member aimed sarcasm at Pugh's office about the probable hiring of a new police commissioner:

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Last week, Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle, withdrew his name from consideration from the permanent job, saying he could not commit to the five to seven years it would take to turn the beleagured police department around. "“The problems are a heavy lift, but they’re not insurmountable,” said Tuggle. “I’m confident it can be fixed, without a doubt, but it's going to take an extended commitment — I’m going to say five to seven years — based on everything that needs to be done, including re-establishing the public's trust in the department.”

Tuggle has served as acting police commissioner since May. That's when former Commissioner Darryl Desousa resigned after being federally charged for not filing taxes for three years. 

“The problems are a heavy lift, but they’re not insurmountable,” Tuggle said outside the U.S. District Courthouse, where his decision was revealed during a hearing on the police department’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“I’m confident it can be fixed, without a doubt, but it's going to take an extended commitment — I’m going to say five to seven years — based on everything that needs to be done, including re-establishing the public's trust in the department. And I just don’t have that five to seven years to give,” he said.

"The problems are a heavy lift, but they’re not insurmountable,” said Tuggle. “I’m confident it can be fixed, without a doubt, but it's going to take an extended commitment — I’m going to say five to seven years — based on everything that needs to be done, including re-establishing the public's trust in the department.” In a released statement, De Sousa said there was no excuse for his to fulfill his obligations as a citizen and public official. “My only explanation is that I failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs,” said De Sousa.

De Sousa was elevated to commissioner January 19—which was very the same day Mayor Catherine Pugh fired Kevin Davis in apparent disappointment that Davis was not making enough progress in the mayor’s violence reduction initiative.

Salary for the Baltimore Police Commissioner post has varied over the past few years:

Darryl De Sousa: $210,000

Kevin Davis- $146,100

Anthony Batts: $211,785.00

It will remain to be seen what the salary for the new Baltimore Police Commissioner would be. According to his bio, Joel Fitzgerald holds a Ph.D in Business Administration.

Read more of Joel Fitzgerald’s biography here

Fitzgerald took over as Fort Worth’s Police Chief in 2015.