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Fort Worth Officers Not Taking ‘No Confidence' Vote on Chief Fitzgerald

Officers conducting "satisfaction survey" instead

Fort Worth police officers will conduct a "satisfaction survey" but not take a no-confidence vote on Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

The decision was made Thursday by members of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

The results of the survey are expected to be announced in September.

"Morale is at an all-time low," FWPOA President Sgt. Rick Van Houten said in a Wednesday press conference.

Van Houten added that the rank-and-file does not believe Fitzgerald has their backs. He accused the chief of making politically motivated decisions like firing Officer Courtney Johnson, who mistakenly shot and injured a man, to make up for not firing Officer William Martin, who stirred up controversy with the viral video arrest of Jacqueline Craig and her teenage daughters.

"The sentiment in the community is that Chief Fitzgerald, it's time for him to go," said pastor and activist Michael Bell.

Bell was among the protesters out on the streets again Thursday, who say they have lost faith in Fitzgerald but for very different reasons from the police officers' association.

"The chief had an opportunity to fire William Martin and he didn't do it," Bell said. "We do want and we do expect Chief Joel Fitzgerald to be fired, but not as pawns of the POA."

When asked at a public event Thursday, Mayor Betsy Price backed up the chief.

"We support the chief and the process," Price said.

Price added that the cases of officers Martin and Johnson should be allowed to play out, separately. But she noted that officer morale is a big concern.

"Well it's always worrisome when you hear that, but we'll work through it," Price said. "And for our citizens, I want them to know that our officers, even if morale is not where they'd like it to be, will still be here dedicated to serve our citizens."

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