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Pawlowski Announces Police Chief Nominee

Pawlowski Announces Police Chief Nominee
Mayor Ed Pawlowski today announced the nomination of Missouri City, Texas Police Chief Joel F. Fitzgerald, Sr. to become Allentown’s next Chief of Police.

Fitzgerald was selected from a group of four finalists that was narrowed from a list of more than 50 original applicants. All four participated in a public forum at Sacred Heart Hospital last month.

Fitzgerald became chief in Missouri City in April 2009. It is a city of more than 85,000 residents. The department has 121 full time officer and civilian employees.

“I was impressed by Joel from the moment I met him,” said Pawlowski. “He brings a wealth of experience in implementing Community Oriented Policing and Intelligence Led Policing that I believe is needed in Allentown. We have been making strides in these areas, but I believe that Joel will take us to the next level.”

“This is an exciting time for me, personally and professionally,” Fitzgerald said. “Being the Chief of Police in Allentown is an opportunity, and a challenge that I could not overlook. I have a chance to work alongside Mayor Pawlowski and the proud men and women of this great police department to affect life or work in the city and how the department is perceived. I see is a city that is moving in the right direction, and a police department that is young and eager to help. I look forward to being a part of it.”

Fitzgerald began his police career as a uniformed patrolman in the Philadelphia Police Department’s 19th District in 1992. He was awarded District Officer of the Year honors near the start of his tenure in 1993.

In 1998, Fitzgerald was promoted to sergeant in the 14th Patrol District where he led a platoon and served as Tactical/Narcotics Enforcement Team Supervisor. There he attended community meetings and developed plans to combat burglaries and robberies.

Fitzgerald joined the department’s Narcotics Strike Force in 2000. Over the next nine years as a sergeant and later as Commander/Lieutenant and Commanding Officer, Fitzgerald led a Narcotics Strike Force, Narcotics Field Unit and the department’s Intensive Drug Investigating Division. The IDID targeted and prosecuted upper-level narcotics distributors and violent felons and dismantled drug trafficking organizations. While in the Narcotics Strike Force, Fitzgerald created deployment strategies to reduce crime and provided a uniform presence in areas experiencing open-air drug markets. While in the Narcotics Field Unit, Fitzgerald’s area of control encompassed four police districts with more than 470,000 residents and 148 police investigators and civilian employees.

Fitzgerald holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona. He holds a Masters in Business Administration-Executive Management from Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Villanova University.

Fitzgerald is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He is FBI Certified in Community Policing.

Fitzgerald’s nomination must be confirmed by City Council.

The city advertised the available police chief’s position in July. Chief Roger MacLean retired in September. He and interim Chief Joe Hanna are among a group of senior officers who participated in a one-time Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP enhancement for veteran officers that was included in the police contract that took effect in January 2009. Those officers in the DROP must retire this December.
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