Dallas-area media reported Friday that Fort Worth police chief Joel Fitzgerald would be Baltimore’s pick for the city’s next police commissioner, according to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. But Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh refused to confirm Fitzgerald’s selection — saying she was still in the vetting process.
The incoming commissioner will make Baltimore’s fifth person to head the police department since 2015.
The selection process has not been public, which many community groups have said is the wrong approach and that the public should have had more input.
The selection process has been kept under wraps so far, but here’s what we do know about the search for the next police chief:
» To recap: Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was fired in January. His replacement, agency veteran Darryl De Sousa, lasted just a few months before he was charged with federal tax charges and resigned in May. Tuggle, a former DEA special agent in charge who De Sousa recruited to be one of his deputies, ascended to the interim spot.
« Applications, including a cover letter, resume and five references, were due Aug. 17 to City Solicitor Andre Davis.
« Since then, more than 50 applications have been received.
« A panel of three law enforcement experts from around the country are helping in the search.
» Texas media reported Oct. 19 that Fort Worth police chief Joel Fitzgerald will be the next Baltimore Police commissioner, but Mayor Catherine Pugh declined to confirm.
» Tuggle, who has been leading the department since May, previously expressed interest in the job, as has Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper, who spent 26 years on the force before retiring in 2014 and joining the sheriff’s office. But Tuggle later announced that he voluntarily pulled his application for the job.
» Officials won’t name the applicants, citing confidentiality agreements.
» In the job announcement, the city said it is seeking “highly qualified applicants for a transformational leadership position.”
» The city said an ideal candidate would be a “can-do, reform minded and proven leader with exceptional management, interpersonal, and communication skills and demonstrated experience in developing and maintaining effective working relationships with community and civic groups (including private-sector partners), police department employees and government leaders.”
» The position requires a bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of “progressively responsible” law enforcement experience, including five as a supervisor. The city said a master’s degree in “criminal justice, police administration, business administration, or related field is strongly preferred.” The city will also consider an “equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job.”
» The city said the “Police Department and the Police Commissioner have broad support from the community, including its political leaders, and its business and professional communities.”
» “I don’t think there is a more challenging police chief job in the country right now,” said Chuck Wexler, the longtime executive director of the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum. “It’s facing a number of challenges: A consent decree, significant crime and issues rebuilding trust.”