FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke announced Monday, Jan. 25, Fort Worth Police Deputy Chief Neil Noakes has been hired as the city’s new police chief.

Noakes has a master of science degree in criminal justice and criminology from Texas Christian University and a bachelor degree in criminal justice administration from Tarleton State University.

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“I think it’s safe to say, you’re looking at the happiest man in Fort Worth right now,” Chief Noakes said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “I am absolutely delighted, I am humbled and honored and I can promise you this, all of us may not agree every day, but as long as we agree to keep coming back to the table, as long as we agree to keep collaborating, as long as we work together, I don’t see anything in the city of Fort Worth we can’t accomplish together.”

Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes (CBS 11)

Noakes has been with the Fort Worth Police Department for 20 years and since March 2019, he has been deputy chief.

“I will do my best to make sure I don’t let anyone down. I will do my best to lead with integrity and to model the behavior we expect from all of our employees,” said Chief Noakes.

Noakes was one of six finalists selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants from across the country.

Regarding whether or not there should be any immediate changes within the police department, Noakes said, “I really think for the most part with what Chief Kraus has done, the course that he has set us on, we’re going in a good direction. It can be fine tuned sure. But I don’t believe it’s a situation where we’re going to have to completely change things from top to bottom.”

“Chief Noakes brings many years of community-based law enforcement experience to the chief’s office, and even more important, he brings innovative leadership and a desire for genuine engagement with the residents we serve,” Cooke said. “In every position throughout his career, Chief Noakes has focused on community problem-solving, reducing crime and enhancing justice and equity for all of our residents.”

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Strategic Government Resources conducted the national search for the new police chief.

After serving the City of Fort Worth for 28 years, Police Chief Ed Kraus retired at the end of 2020.

“Chief Noakes is the right leader, at the right time, for the Fort Worth Police Department and the City of Fort Worth,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “Chief Noakes has proven to have a heart for servant leadership and a vision for rebuilding and strengthening relationships within our communities. He and the 2,400-plus sworn and civilian employees of the department must work with the community in a spirit of solidarity and partnership to continue to build on the foundations that Chief Kraus has laid. I look forward to voting on his appointment with the other council members at our February meeting.”

Community activist, Pastor Kyev Tatum, said he was hoping the city would choose an outside candidate after a nationwide search.

“We need fresh eyes on that police department,” said Pastor Tatum. “They believe the status quo is what Fort Worth needs, and we cannot grow with the status quo.”

Former Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall tweeted shortly after the formal announcement of the hiring of Neil Noakes, “Congratulations to Neil Noakes, the new @FortWorthPD Chief!”

Jason Allen and Caroline Vandergriff contributed to this report.

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