Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald was fired after a culmination of problems, including a heated confrontation in Washington, D.C., and failed attempt to get a job in Baltimore, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. City Manager David Cooke said he determined a change in leadership was necessary.” I’ve made the decision to remove Joel Fitzgerald as the chief of police for the Fort Worth Police Department,” Cooke said Monday. Executive Assistant Chief Edwin Kraus has been designated as interim chief. Fitzgerald said the reason given for his firing was “nothing that is in any way valid.”
Dallas attorney Stephen Kennedy said he will represent Fitzgerald and has plans to file a formal letter with the city’s attorney to seek an administrative appeal. “Chief Fitzgerald had scheduled an appointment with the FBI (Monday) at approximately 3 PM to report more city violations of the Criminal Justice Information Systems Act,” Kennedy said. “It is no coincidence that the city decided to terminate him one day after his department celebrated a major arrest in a criminal case.” Kennedy believes the city needed to silence Fitzgerald because he was going to blow the whistle on the violations. “By terminating him early in the afternoon, they did so,” Kennedy said. “This was a bad idea.” Cooke said there had been conversations last week about firing the chief, and that Fitzgerald was given an opportunity to resign and he didn’t.