BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The confirmation process is officially underway for the mayor’s nominee to become Baltimore’s next city police commissioner.
The City Council took up Joel Fitzgerald’s nomination at their final meeting of the year, and Fitzgerald’s name was officially submitted by the mayor to City Council.
Fitzgerald’s selection is the subject of scrutiny among some members, including Brandon Scott.
“I have a lot of concerns. I have to be convinced that he’s the right person, and right now I’m not convinced he’s the right person,” Scott said.
Most of the major concerns stem from a lack of information on his background and how the mayor vetted him for the job.
According to our media partner the Baltimore Sun, City Council has only been given a copy of his nomination letter and resume.
[WJZ Reporter:] “Do you think you have enough information to make a decision?”
“I just want to keep an open mind on this and understand, when I come back maybe I can give a more thorough answer,” said Councilman Robert Stokes.
Some council members, like Stokes, are going down to Fort Worth this weekend for answers.
Councilman Eric Costello is staying behind and said he hasn’t made up his mind either but says he plans to get just as many answers.
“Now that he’s been appointed we’re going to go through a pretty lengthy confirmation process,” Costello said.
Rumors first swirled that Fitzgerald had been offered the job in mid-October.
About a month later, the mayor made it official.
And just last week, he paid a visit to Baltimore to introduce himself.
“I would not have applied for this position had I not believed in my heart that this was something I was set out for,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald is staying at his current job as police chief of Fort Worth, Texas until he is confirmed by the City Council.
Fitzgerald became chief of police of the Fort Worth Police Department in October 2015. During his time in Fort Worth, Fitzgerald endured scrutiny over a leak of body camera footage and questions about morale under his lead.
Fitzgerald would inherit a department in the midst of several scandals rocking the department, as well as violence that is expected to exceed more than 300 murders this year.
He is replacing Darryl De Sousa who resigned his position back in May after facing charges for failing to file his taxes for three years.
De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, moved into the role following the firing of former commissioner Kevin Davis in January 2018. De Sousa resigned 76 days after taking the job.
“I think we have the opportunity to mend some of the broken fences, so to speak,” Fitzgerald said.
Garry Tuggle was appointed as acting commissioner but removed his name from consideration for the top spot.
The city police department received more than 50 applications for the job.
The top spot at the police department has been unstable for quite some time — 10 police commissioners since 1989.
In January, the Council is planning two days of hearings on the nominee, followed by a final vote.