Fort Worth City Council approves interim police chief

Assistant Chief Rhonda Robertson was unanimously approved by the Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday to take over as interim police chief.

She is expected to start the job on Jan. 10, the day after Chief Jeff Halstead officially retires. Halstead announced his retirement last week. She is not interested in the permanent job.

“Chief Halstead has positioned us so that we are on the path to excellence. The work is not going to stop because he decided to leave us and we are going to stay on that path,” Robertson told the council. “We look forward to the search for our new chief. The transition will be difficult, as it is for most organizations when you lose your top leader, but we are going to keep doing great work.”

Robertson said she was planning to retire soon herself, but delayed that decision because of Halstead’s retirement.

“The chief came to me one day and told me I needed to change my plans just a little bit and I was happy to do so,” she said.

Robertson was hired as a Fort Worth police officer in 1985, according to the police department web site. She has several years of experience commanding operations in patrol, internal affairs, and the criminal investigation division and oversees the support Bureau, which includes tactical command, investigative and support command and communications.

“Rhonda has served our citizens of Fort Worth for nearly 30 years in the Fort Worth Police Department and has led nearly every facet of the police department,” said City Manager David Cooke, adding he has “all the confidence in the world” in her appointment.

The city will conduct a national search for a new chief, and Cooke said Robertson has declined to be a candidate in that search.

Robertson has a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Halstead announced his retirement after almost six years in Fort Worth. His salary for 2014 was $170,384.

Halstead, 51, came to Fort Worth in 2008 from the Phoenix Police Department, where he worked 20 years, rising to the rank of commander. Halstead said he plans to devote time to his consulting business.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.