Lehigh Valley

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski names Joel Fitzgerald as city police chief nominee

Fitzgerald, current chief in Missouri City, Texas, must be approved by city council

Allentown mayor names city police chief nominee

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski made public Monday his choice for the city's next police chief.

Pawlowski has nominated Joel Fitzgerald to take the job, pending city council's approval.

Fitzgerald, the police chief in Missouri City, Texas, started his policing career in Philadelphia in 1992. He spent 18 years on the Philly force, rising through the ranks to lieutenant before taking over as chief in Missouri City in April 2009.

"Right off the bat, I think we can have better relationships with members of the community," he said during a visit to Allentown in October. "I think community problem-solving methods will work here."

Fitzgerald is a 2010 winner of the NAACP president's award for his community policing work. The Texas House of Representatives also honored him for his exceptional service, according to his biography on the police department's website.

Fitzgerald was among four finalists for the job. The others were Ted Kohuth, the former police chief in Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co.; Charles Rapp, the executive director of Maryland's Police and Correctional Training Commissions; and Ronald Walsh, deputy inspector, Nassau County (N.Y.) Police Department.

Fitzgerald's wife and one of the couple's three children also work in law enforcement.

If his nomination is approved, Fitzgerald will take over for Roger MacLean, who retired in September after 39 years on the force. He became chief in 2006.

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