Great Job Fort Worth, Texas!
More Oversight Is Needed On These People.
It’s time that citizens step up and demand better from the people chosen to run their police departments.
The Chief of Police of the Fort Worth Police Department was kicked out of CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas). So he did what any professional, highly-visible Chief of a very large department would do…………he waited until he got to Washington DC for National Police Week, where fallen Officers are being honored, he waited until he got into a ceremony, where 2 fallen Ft. Worth Officers were being memorialized, and he started a heated verbal confrontation with the President of CLEAT.
This is not hearsay, this is not rumor, this happened in front of many witnesses, INCLUDING the wife of Officer Garrett Hull who was one of the fallen Ft. Worth Officers being remembered. Real Classy Chief!
One of the witnesses was Manny Ramirez, the President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.
From the Ft. Worth Star Telegram article;
Ramirez said Thursday evening that Fitzgerald had warned him earlier in the night that he planned to confront Harrison. Ramirez said he asked the chief not to do so at the prestigious event where two Fort Worth officers were to be honored. Ramirez said he was later trying to usher people onto the stage for a photograph when he saw Fitzgerald moving quickly toward Harrison with his eyes fixated on the man. “I placed myself in his path because I know there’s going to be a confrontation given what he told me earlier in the evening,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought it better to prevent any type of contact.” Ramirez said when he blocked Fitzgerald, he hollered “Todd!” and said, ‘I’m going to talk to you now or I’m going to talk to you in the courtroom.’” “He kept loudly repeating, ‘You messed up! You messed up!” Ramirez added. Ramirez estimated there were about 40 people on the stage and 300 people still inside the ballroom when the confrontation occurred. He said the chief’s actions were inappropriate at a time and venue when the focus should been on honoring Matt Putnam and David Jwanowski — Fort Worth officers who received the National Top Cops Award from the National Association of Police Organizations. The officers had been involved in the take-down of suspected robbers on the night Cpl. Garrett Hull was shot and fatally wounded. Hull’s widow, Sabrina Hull, was among those present when the confrontation took place.
You can read the entire Star Telegram article here.
There is a big problem in this country with city leaders appointing people with zero leadership ability, people who have criminal records, and people who have proven over and over again with disciplinary actions that they should not be wearing a badge, much less a Chief’s badge.
So why does it keep happening? In this April 2019 article, USA Today digs into this issue. But even when a Police Chief proves that they are not fit to lead a department, city leaders often refuse to get rid of them until something bad happens and they, the city managers, look bad.
Smaller departments are the absolute worst at letting bad police chiefs destroy a department before they finally remove them, if they ever do. The reason is simple……there is very little real oversight of smaller departments.
Most of the time, the only information that city councils and city managers receive about their departments are in monthly reports that just throw out numbers and percentages. Very, very few city managers ever take the time to speak to the officers and employees about what is really going on in their police departments. Most city managers have the diluted mentality that “he’s the Chief so he will tell me if there is something wrong”. This way of blindly allowing bad police chiefs to self-report is absolutely ridiculous and it is time that it changes.
I am not 100% in favor of “Police Oversight Boards” when it comes to these people, who know nothing about law enforcement, having any kind of say in how police work is done. I am, however, 110% FOR some kind of civilian police department command-staff evaluation process. This process must include confidential feedback from, and interviews with, all police department employees. This is the only way that citizens and city councils will get the truth about what goes on in their police departments and how they are being managed, or mismanaged.
There are police chiefs out there protecting bad cops. I know, I have experienced and fought this battle with a past chief. The problem is that the city leaders absolutely refused to listen to anyone but the Chief of Police, simply because he is the chief. Have you ever heard of anything more ignorant than that? That is how things were done in the past, and citizens need to start demanding better from city management!
This is an older article (2014) from PoliceOne.com, but it accurately describes the harm that poor police leadership can cause.
Some police chiefs are worse than others of course, but even if they do not break the law under the color of their gold badge, a bad chief can do severe harm to a department and it’s officers. None more so than those who lead smaller departments.
Like many other cities around the country, Fort Worth needs to throw this unprofessional clown out into the street and say “BYE FELICIA!” Hell, he has spent most of his time as Chief looking for a new job anyway.
.As for all of those who live in small towns, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your police force using current, updated practices and procedures?
- Is your Chief of Police moving the department forward, or is he keeping the department sitting stagnant and operating by the old “We’ve always done it this way” method?
- Are your police officers professional. Do they look professional, act professional, and are they involved with the community?
- Do you constantly hear bad things about a particular officer or the chief?
- Does your chief have a working knowledge of updated computer technology, grant submission, and social media practices?
- What is the turnover rate for officers at your department?
If you do not like the answers to these questions then you need to start speaking with city leaders and probably start submitting some open records requests at your PD. If you don’t know what to request send me an email and I will help you decide what you need to look for.