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Mayor Pugh nominates new BPD leader, city leaders, former commissioner weigh in

Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-18 21:22:36-05

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh chose the chief of police of Fort Worth, Texas Joel Fitzgerald to lead the department.

RELATED: Fort Worth Texas Police Chief named new Baltimore Police Commissioner by Mayor Pugh

"He’s a professional, he’s qualified but there are a lot of professional, well-qualified people out there.  The question is; is he going to get unconditional support from this mayoral administration? asked former Baltimore Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis.

And will Fitzgerald get the support from the city council?

"We know that folks including myself, will be traveling to Fort Worth to talk to members of the community there, elected officials there, people involved in policing there to see how the nominee performed when he was there," said Councilman Brandon Scott.

Pugh made her choice without the Fraternal Order of Police.  She said Fitzgerald is the person to lead BPD's new era of credibility, accountability and trust.  But she was noticeably unavailable for comment on the very day she made that statement in an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun.

"It should be done in a more formal way that gives people the opportunity to meet and see with their own eyes," Davis told WMAR 2 News.

Fitzgerald heads the Fort Worth Police Department, he started his career in Philadelphia and was also chief of police in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

"Does he have the policing experience to be successful? Yes.  Does he know enough about reform and consent decree and the DOJ mandates to be successful? Yes," said Davis.

All things Pugh said is crucial to shoring up BPD leadership.  Davis said  Fitzgerald can’t reform crime in Baltimore alone.

"No one person can't fix this.  It has to be about necessary political support.  It has to start with the mayor’s office and with the city council, " Davis said.

City leaders say this is just the first step to his appointment and hope the choice will incite real change. 

"It's not just about having leadership in the department, it's about having the right leadership to deal with the crime issues that we have in the city--the shootings, the murders, the robberies," Scott said.

If confirmed by the council, Fitzgerald will be the fourth BPD commissioner this year.