FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth’s new interim police chief is already making changes, and said he’s been told morale is on the uptick in the week since he took over for fired chief Joel Fitzgerald.
Ed Kraus officially took an oath Tuesday to serve in the chief’s position. The audience in the city council chamber broke out in cheers and applause when the appointment was official.
The appointment comes as the city is still dealing with the aftermath of the firing decision. The council met in a closed door session following Kraus’ appointment to discuss legal issues.
Fitzgerald is expected to file some type of an appeal of the decision. An attorney representing him told CBS 11 News Tuesday that has not happened yet.
Kraus said he has spoken with the former chief since last week, was complimentary of him and said Fitzgerald had prepared him well for the position.
“And I will say he needs prayers as much as I do,” Kraus said. “Everyone says they’re praying for me. I would ask the community to pray for him as well.”
Kraus said he has started making some internal policy changes, related to how officers are dispatched to calls, to make the process less restricting.
He said he expects to continue community programs instituted by Fitzgerald.
The city’s process for hiring a new chief is not clear yet, but could be similar to its selection of a fire chief in 2018. That took about five months.
Fort Worth Police Officers Association president Manny Ramirez said his membership do not want it to be a lengthy decision.
“We’ve seen all that does is foster a little division and all that does it doesn’t create any sense of security for those officers,” he said. “The officers need to know what the vision, what the missions is. And I think as quick as we can get that settled, the better.”
Kraus reaffirmed Tuesday he is likely to submit for the position permanently, as long as city management’s view of the role aligns with his.