Fort Worth’s interim police chief Ed Kraus says he'll work to heal any wounds – both in the department and the community – after the firing of Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
"It was surprising," Kraus said Tuesday at police headquarters. "I had no warning that this was coming."
Kraus said he planned no immediate changes and that the basic work of the police department will continue.
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"I know the men and women who serve, and they serve faithfully, the citizens of Fort Worth, and that's not going to change depending on who's in the chief's seat," he said.
In a 26-year career, Kraus rose through the ranks from officer to executive assistant chief.
Most recently, he served as the department's liaison to the Race and Culture Task Force, which was formed after the controversial arrest of Jacqueline Craig in December 2016.
The group recommended hiring a civilian police auditor, or monitor, to oversee high-profile incidents.
Kraus said if that happens, he welcomes the extra input, even if that means someone second-guessing his decisions on discipline.
"Absolutely I'll be second-guessed," he said.
Kraus said he hopes to reduce tension between the department brass and the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.
Sometimes the relationship is "adversarial by nature, but that doesn't mean it can't be professional," he said. "So we're going to work on repairing any rifts in that relationship."
City managers said Kraus will remain as interim chief at least for a few months until a selection process is in place to hire someone permanently.
"I just want to get through the transition period first," he said.
But Kraus didn't rule out applying for the job long-term.
"I'm curious to see what the city leaders are going to decide they want in the next police chief and see if that aligns with my values personally and professionally, and if so, I will consider putting in for the job on a more permanent basis."