Here’s police commissioner nominee Joel Fitzgerald’s pre-Fort Worth resume from 2015

0
Share the News


A screenshot of the first page of Joel Fitzgerald’s resume from 2015. Via City of Fort Worth.

While Mayor Catherine Pugh’s nominee for Baltimore Police Commissioner has declined to release his resume to members of the Baltimore City Council and the public, a copy of an earlier six-plus-page C.V. has surfaced online, courtesy of the City of Fort Worth and some digging from Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton.

The resume predates his time in the 874,000-person Texas city where he’s served as police commissioner for the last three years. But it does include info on the scope of his command, the size of the budgets, initiatives he implemented and other details for the police departments he ran in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for 21 months, and Missouri City, Texas, for more than four years.

In Allentown, Fitzgerald said his job included “establishing credibility and integrity of the APD with all sectors of the community,” helping reduce crime in times of budgetary restraint and expanding the use of body-worn and security cameras.

The Allentown Morning Call reported in 2015, when Fitzgerald was offered a police commissioner job in Wichita, Kansas, (he turned it down) that the APD had been “dogged by complaints of police brutality during Joel Fitzgerald’s tenure as chief,” and had faced at least eight lawsuits alleging police misconduct within the previous year. Overtime spending there also reportedly rose to $2 million in 2014, its highest level in five years.

In Missouri City, his resume says among his duties were “successfully maximizing trust, accountability, and organizational transparency in the Houston Metropolitan Area’s Most Diverse City,” moving the department toward community-oriented and intelligence-led policing and jail management reform.

Fitzgerald was honored by the NAACP for his service in the Houston suburb in 2010. “I’m sorry we lost him,” former Missouri City Mayor Pro Tem Don Smith told the Wichita Eagle in 2015.

Also included: descriptions of his various ranking positions in the narcotics unit of the Philadelphia Police Department, where he started his career in law enforcement and served for 17 years. In a section for his final position there as commander, he references it as the city’s “most prestigious narcotics unit.”

In another section for his time spent leading the city’s Narcotics Strike Force, Fitzgerald wrote, “This highly trained unit is a model example of community policing, providing a visible uniform presence in areas experiencing open-air drug markets.”

His resume also notes his time as a patrol officer in Philly, and assorted training programs with federal and states agencies, including the DEA, FBI and Pennsylvania State Police, and criminal justice and business-oriented coursework, to go with his bachelor’s, MBA and doctorate of public administration degrees.

“Fitzgerald fosters interagency collaboration, promotes diversity, and develops accountability by creating trust between labor and management,” his resume states in a section at the top.

It’s available for download here (also linked in this tweet from Fenton):

Since it’s from 2015, it doesn’t cover any accomplishments that Fitzgerald would tout from his time with the Fort Worth Police Department, which has about 1,700 sworn officers. In any event, that section of his resume almost surely wouldn’t reference controversies that Fitzgerald has faced in Texas.

Among those: When he demoted two commanders—they both sued—accused of leaking what became viral body camera footage of a controversial arrest of a black woman by a white officer; when he waited two years to fire an officer accused of shooting an unarmed black man (the officer was tried for aggravated assault, and the charge was dropped after a hung jury); and a 2017 survey of 465 officers in the department, in which large majorities said officer morale declined and that personnel weren’t disciplined equally based on race, rank or seniority.

While not directly involved, Fitzgerald was also tied to a controversy in Allentown in 2014, when his son was arrested by two undercover detectives. The officers said he pointed a loaded gun at them, though his son’s attorney has said he was only raising and showing it to them.

Fitzgerald was here in Baltimore yesterday. He appeared alongside Pugh to meet local media at City Hall before making a few other stops around the city. At a press conference, he emphasized the importance of trainings for de-escalation, procedural justice, implicit bias and more here in light of the consent decree, as well as the need to engage with communities and neighborhoods.

“I think we have a very great opportunity to mend some of the broken fences, so to speak, that have happened over the last few years,” he said.

But the police commissioner nominee, who must still be approved by the City Council in the new year, hasn’t shown the same push for transparency with his own background. He declined to release his resume to The Sun, both directly and through City Solicitor Andre Davis, and the mayor’s office has declined to release the results of his background investigation to council members, saying it contains confidential information.

Speaking in the third person yesterday, he told reporters there’s information “out there about Joel Fitzgerald and how I do business.”

Before public hearings on his nomination and a confirmation vote in January, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Vice President Sharon Green Middleton, and councilmembers Robert Stokes and Brandon Scott will go to Fort Worth to speak with clergy, citizen advocates, business leaders, police officials, elected officials and civil rights attorneys, among others, about Baltimore’s potential new top cop. They’re set to head there Dec. 9.

Ethan McLeod
Follow Ethan

Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
Follow Ethan


Share the News

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here