FORT WORTH -- The Fort Worth Police Department made history Tuesday. Joel Fitzgerald was inducted as the city’s first black Chief of Police.
“This is such an important moment, not only in my career but in the City of Fort Worth because of change,” Fitzgerald said while addressing the public.
The mayor, city council, and community helped roll out the welcome mat.
This change of command comes after the former police chief, Jeffrey Halstead, resigned under a cloud racial complaints. One involved a couple of now-retired sergeants who reportedly showed an offensive photo of a snowman with a cop hat, banana, and noose around its neck to two African-American officers in the department.
Several other black officers claimed they were also harassed by fellow cops in the department.
Although Chief Halstead apologized via YouTube, the Fort Worth Black Law Enforcement Officers Association wasn't buying it and called for Halstead to be fired.
Now, Chief Fitzgerald is stepping in and taking charge, “I just happened to be surrounded by folks that were great throughout my career, and I guess here in Fort Worth, I don't see or foresee that being any different.”
People in and out of the department are hoping that this change of command will bring change.