Joel Fitzgerald at a 2015 news conference when he was police chief in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Joel Fitzgerald at a 2015 news conference when he was police chief in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Harry Fisher / HANDOUT)

The withdrawal follows a medical emergency involving Fitzgerald’s son, which led Mayor Catherine Pugh’s team to cancel a round of meetings and public hearings scheduled in Baltimore beginning in early January.


The move means more uncertainty for a department that’s been without a permanent police commissioner since May.

Here’s what people are saying about Fitzgerald’s withdrawal and the path forward. Responses may be edited for clarity.

They think Baltimore was too hard on Fitzgerald

Some think that Baltimore’s public officials, advocates and local media scared Fitzgerald away from the job.

They want more transparency out of the selection process

Others criticized the mayor’s selection process and hope to see more openness and public inclusion next time.

They don’t think Fitzgerald was the right fit

Plain and simple, many felt that Fitzgerald lacked the right demeanor and experience for the job. Whoever the next commissioner is will be tasked with reforming the department and curbing the city’s violence.

They have ideas for who should be nominated next

If not Fitzgerald, then who? Baltimore has some ideas.

Mayor Pugh has burned a year in seeking a permanent replacements for Commissioner Davis. Have to go with internal candidates with existing community and City Council support. —William Washington

I highly recommend Mr. TJ Smith to be Baltimore Police Department (BPD) police commissioner!!! He’s passionate about Baltimore and passionate about helping others. He knows how to bring people together and he’s diplomatic and shows transparency between police department, community leaders and governmental administration. —Patrick Cox

Gary Tuggle is a native of Baltimore but, he possesses true core values, which means he can’t be bought or sold by Baltimore politics and culture. —Karl Colder

What I envision for the next Baltimore Police Commissioner is an insider outsider! Someone who has had a career in policing in Baltimore City, achieved a senior executive level rank within the department, but has not been apart of the current culture of policing in the city that the FBI can date back to 2008. —Sam Johnson

I believe the only jurisdiction with enough experienced police officers from which to recruit a new police Baltimore City commissioner is New York City. The experience and continued support from former mentors in NYC might prove to be the greatest asset. —Anonymous