BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Though Mayor Catherine Pugh says its not a done deal, she does believe Joel Fitzgerald is qualified to lead Baltimore’s police department.
Fort Worth, Texas police chief Joel Fitzgerald’s name surfaced weeks ago as Baltimore’s new police commissioner, but confirmation took until Friday.
“There were over 50 people who applied for this position. This is the selection I am making at this point,” Pugh said.
Pugh’s previous selection of Daryl De Sousa, who rose through Baltimore’s ranks, ended with his resignation for failing to pay past income taxes.
It’s been a revolving door ever since the Freddie Gray riots, when Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired.
Kevin Davis left as scandal gripped the department, and murders and gun violence increased.
Meanwhile, the department is trying to meet demands for improvement in a federal consent decree.
“There are 900,000 people there, with a police department the size of ours. One of the things I was looking for is a chief, a police chief,” Pugh said. “Someone who has a great deal of experience, has read our consent decree, understands community engagement, and so I am excited,”
Now the next question is whether the City Council will feel that same excitement. The City Council must approve Fitzgerald, and the mayor said a lot of conversations need to be had before a vote is taken and it becomes a done deal.