Fort Worth Selects New Police Chief From Its Own Department

Today the City of Fort Worth announced Neil Noakes as its new police chief to replace retiring Chief Ed Kraus.

Noakes has been with the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) since 2000 and most recently served as deputy chief over the South Command area.

During the press conference held to announce his selection, Noakes emphasized that he wants “Fort Worth to be the most livable community in the nation. Every member of this diverse community matters,” he added.  

“I’m not special. I’m surrounded by people who are.” He referred to his own family, the officers of FWPD, and the community at large as having supported him and encouraged him.

Fort Worth has recently seen an increase in violent crime and murders. Noakes acknowledged the problem and said it is being addressed by entering neighborhoods, not as an occupying force, but in collaboration with residents to fight crime. He also added that the department has put in place a non-fatal shooting response team to help with necessary investigations.

“I believe we are going in a good direction,” Noakes said of Kraus’ leadership. “One of the things that makes us a great agency is that we know we can be better.”

Noakes said he is committed to making sure officers know that they are appreciated.

In response to criticism for such events as the killing of Atatiana Jefferson by an FWPD officer in October 2019, Fort Worth established an office of the police oversight monitor and hired a police monitor eight months ago. Noakes is supportive of this direction and says he plans to be a part of the process and lead a department with a culture of transparency and accountability.  

The three largest cities in the DFW Metropolitan area, Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth, have recently hired new chiefs, Noakes pointed out, and he intends to reach out to them for collaboration on issues facing the area in general.

The final field of six candidates consisted of many veteran law enforcement officers from around Texas and as far away as Las Vegas. Two of the six were internal candidates from FWPD. Noakes praised Swearingen, the other internal FWPD final candidate, for her innovative recruiting efforts known as “Be the Change.”  

“I love this city because of what the city has given to me,” Noakes said of his desire to serve Fort Worth.

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