Mayor on Fitzgerald: This is the choice I would like to make for Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WBFF) Mayor Catherine Pugh answered questions about naming Joel Fitzgerald the next Baltimore Police commissioner, while attending a tree lighting ceremony Saturday.
The Mayor announced her decision in a tweet Friday.
“He’s my choice based on the process we went through,” explained Pugh. “The council of police commissioners around the country did interviews and evaluated the number of police commissioners who applied.”
Pugh said she selected Fitzgerald out of more than 50 applicants.
“He’s originally from Philadelphia and served in a big police department” said Pugh. “He rose up the ranks and is now currently serving in Texas as a police chief. There are about 900,000 people there (Fort Worth), a police department about the size of ours. One of the things I was looking for was a police chief. Someone who has read our consent decree and understands community engagement. So, I’m excited.”
Pugh acknowledged Fitzgerald must now be confirmed by Baltimore City Council before being named commissioner.
“It has been a long process, as you well know,” said Pugh. “He's gone through a part of the process, but the other part that I want everyone to respect is they have to go through city council. There are a lot of conversations that still need to be had.”
The conversations include a hearing, where council members will have an opportunity to question Fitzgerald. The public will also have the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the selection.
Fitzgerald must first be confirmed by the majority of the five members who sit on the Executive Appointments Committee. If approved, all council members will then vote on Fitzgerald.
Fox45 reached out to all council members either in person, by phone or email.
Committee Chair Robert Stokes confirmed he and other members of council, including Brandon Scott will be traveling to Fort Worth to interview people as part of their vetting process.
“He will be well vetted,” said Stokes over the phone.
“This process will be different than it has been in the past,” said Councilman Scott, on Friday. “We'll be doing our own digging.”
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke sits on the committee with Stokes and sent a statement to Fox45 Friday saying, “I’m just hearing about the Mayor’s nominee, so waiting to meet and learn more.”
Stokes said the committee is waiting on the official nomination from the Mayor’s office in order to move forward with their process.
A hearing date has not yet been set.