FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth City Council welcomed the city’s new interim police chief with applause Tuesday, less than 24 hours after firing Joel Fitzgerald from the top law enforcement job.
Without mentioning the former chief by name, Mayor Betsy Price thanked Ed Kraus for taking over and commenting on what she hopes he will bring to the job.
“We truly are excited about what you’ll bring to this department and reestablishing the trust and building the morale and thank you for taking this job on,” Price said.
Away from city hall though, activists were critical of the decision, and the timing, following a high-profile kidnapping case police just solved.
“It’s indicative of the disconnect our city leaders have with the pulse of the community,” said Pastor Kyev Tatum.
Tatum, who was critical of Fitzgerald early in his tenure, is now turning a scheduled prayer breakfast this weekend, into a support rally for the former chief.
He believes the Fitzgerald’s crime strategies, should outweigh personal disagreements with leadership and unions.’
“He’s implemented policies and procedure in our city that are working,” he said. “Men lie, women lie, but the numbers don’t lie.”
The latest numbers available from the department shows crime had dropped in the city, down more than 8 percent in 2018 over the year before.
City leaders though have pointed to numbers that were up, namely budget expenses.
The department had an overrun of nearly $12 million last year, and there was concern in the last week that the issue was repeating itself.
And while city management may have moved on, Fitzgerald and supporters have not.
“We have a responsibility and obligation to push back, and we’re telling the mayor, give him his job back or we’re going to keep pushing back and pushing back until something happens,” Tatum said.