Fort Worth

Contrary to reports, Fort Worth police chief says he hasn’t accepted a new job

FWPD chief: ‘I can’t say I made the best initial decision’ after viral arrest video

Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald reversed course this week and decided not to pursue charges against Jacqueline Craig and her daughter, who were arrested Dec. 21 after Craig called police to report an assault of her son. (Max Faulkner/Star-Telegram)
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Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald reversed course this week and decided not to pursue charges against Jacqueline Craig and her daughter, who were arrested Dec. 21 after Craig called police to report an assault of her son. (Max Faulkner/Star-Telegram)

Although multiple reports suggest that Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald has been selected as the new commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, the police department said Friday morning that he hasn’t accepted a new position.

“At this time, Chief Fitzgerald has not accepted any job offer,” police spokesman Christopher Britt said in an email.

WBAL-TV in Baltimore and NBC5 published reports saying Fitzgerald is the new police commissioner in Baltimore. They quoted Fort Worth Mayor Betsy as saying “it appears” Fitzgerald has taken the job.

But later Friday morning, Price’s press secretary, Laken Rapier, told the Star-Telegram that Price based her statement to the press on a series of tweets from an anonymous account based in Baltimore.

“Really and truly, she found out the way most of us found out,” Rapier said.

Price and Fitzgerald had a brief phone conversation Friday morning, Rapier said.

“Chief Fitzgerald has not resigned; he’s still our chief of police,” she said.

Fort Worth police spokesman Jimmy Pollozani said earlier Friday, “There is no official word from Chief Fitzgerald that he is leaving.”

The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh simply texted “no confirmation” when asked whether Fitzgerald would take the police commissioner job there.

Rapier told the Sun that Price thought, “I guess it appears he is leaving per a tweet she was asked to respond to.”

James Bentley, press secretary for Baltimore’s mayor, said he could neither confirm nor deny any published reports that Fitzgerald has accepted the police commissioner’s position.

“We have not released the names of any of the applicants due to privacy concerns,” Bentley said.

The city has not planned to make any announcements Friday regarding personnel matters, Bentley said. The mayor has said she intends to name a new commissioner by the end of the month.

The next chief will be the fifth person to head the department since 2015, according to the Sun. That’s the same year Fitzgerald became Fort Worth police chief.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3;

Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74

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