Chief Fitzgerald to leave Missouri City for hometown assignment

Chief of Police Joel Fitzgerald is leaving his position with Missouri City for the same title in his hometown of Allentown, Pa. Fitzgerald, a former Philadelphia police officer for 18 years, is expected to start his new position Dec. 20.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski nominated Fitzgerald for the chief position Nov. 11, and Allentown City Council approved the nomination unanimously later that month.

"The Missouri City police department displays a willingness everyday to represent each and every person in the community, and it will continue to do so," Fitzgerald said. "I feel good about that, because I have good people."

Missouri City City Council recognized Fitzgerald's service to the city at its Dec. 2 meeting. Residents and public officials from Fort Bend County, Stafford, Sugar Land and the state of Texas were in attendance to speak on Fitzgerald's accomplishments during his nearly five years of service as Missouri City's chief of police.

Fort Bend County's District Attorney John Healey commended Fitzgerald for his strong communication skills and his initiatives that have benefited the city and its residents.

"I don't have to tell you what a fantastic chief we are losing," he said. "[Joel Fitzgerald] has instilled the important concept of active, vivid communication within his troops, and it has really spilled out over. It suggests that there is a great relationship between MoCity and all the law enforcement agencies in Fort Bend County."

From involving residents through a community street team to reorganizing the police department to helping create a chaplaincy program within the department, Fitzgerald has made a difference in Missouri City along with its neighboring communities, city manager Ed Broussard said.

"[Joel Fitzgerald] is also the one who helped organize the first of ongoing monthly criminal investigation division meetings, bringing different groups together—Fort Bend County and other agencies in the area—to share information," he said. "That's one thing that he brought in and helped promote—we have to work together."

Fitzgerald holds a doctorate in business administration and was awarded the NAACP President's Award in 2010 for his community policing work. Among other recognitions, the Texas House of Representatives has honored Fitzgerald for his exceptional service in Missouri City.

"We are really going to miss him," said state Rep. Ron Reynolds. "We have made significant strides in becoming an even safer city."

Assistant chief of police Mike Berezin, who began his law enforcement career with Missouri City in 1989, will step in as interim chief of police following Fitzgerald's departure. Berezin has held several positions with the Missouri City Police Department and was promoted to assistant chief in 2011.



MOST RECENT

Big Group Events manages the Sunday farmers market in Sugar Land, which was previously held at Mercer Stadium. (Courtesy Big Group Events)
Sugar Land farmers market to reopen, move indoors starting June 14

Moving the market indoors will keep vendors and customers out of the Texas heat.

Twenty cases in Fort Bend County were currently hospitalized according to data available on June 2 and June 3 on the Fort Bend County Community Impact Dasboard. The total confirmed cases was 1,916 on June 2 and 1,951 on June 3. (Designed by José Dennis/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Bend County official: Severity of COVID-19 is ‘affecting us less than it did in the beginning’

June 2 data shows 20 cases are hospitalized out of 1,916 confirmed postitive coronavirus cases.

(Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
PHOTOS: Scenes from the downtown Houston march for George Floyd

People of all ages, colors and creeds packed downtown Houston June 2 to march in memory of former Houston resident George Floyd.

Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper
60,000 gather in downtown Houston June 2 in solidarity with George Floyd's family

Among a series of marches across the U.S. to honor George Floyd, his hometown of Houston turned out in the thousands June 2.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Fort Bend County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
5 of Fort Bend County’s 35 new coronavirus cases June 2 located in Sugar Land, Missouri City ZIP codes

The 35 confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County on June 2, bring the total countywide case count to 1,916.

Mark Flathouse, the county’s fire marshal and emergency management coordinator, said the office of emergency management is closely watching Tropical Storm Cristobal in case its path crosses into Fort Bend County between June 6-8. (Screenshot via Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County prepares for Tropical Storm Cristobal

“In the next few days, we are going to see heavy rainfall in pockets in Fort Bend County," County Judge KP George said.

During the June 1 City Council meeting, council members expressed their condolences to the Rule and Floyd families and offered words of encouragement to Missouri City residents. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council members respond to deaths of Caleb Rule and George Floyd

During the June 1 City Council meeting, council members expressed their condolences to the Rule and Floyd families and offered words of encouragement to Missouri City residents.

Fit Athletic, a Houston-based fitness facility, offers free live-streamed fitness sessions on the club’s Facebook page. (Courtesy Fit Athletic)
To-do list: 9 virtual ways to stay healthy at home

The following are a few virtual ways to stay healthy and active from the comfort of home.

The flyer with information on George Floyd's Houston-area services was released June 2. (Courtesy Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center)
JUST IN: George Floyd visitation, funeral scheduled for June 8-9 in Houston area

A public memorial will take place June 8 at The Fountain of Praise church from noon-6 p.m.

The June 2 march will culminate with a rally at the steps of Houston City Hall. (Courtesy city of Houston)
Houston city buildings, some METRO services planned to shut down ahead of June 2 march for George Floyd

Ahead of the June 2 march with members of George Floyd's family through downtown Houston, several city services are planning to shut down early in the afternoon.

Businesses shuttering their doors due to coronavirus restrictions lowered the sales tax revenue collected by cities in May compared to May 2019. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas comptroller reports 13.2% year-over-year state sales tax revenue drop in May

Tax collection revenue fell significantly in several sectors from May 2019 to May 2020, according to the comptroller's office.

Renters and homeowners in Fort Bend County who are struggling to pay their bills can apply for financial assistance from federal funds received by the county. Pictured above is the 1879 apartment complex at The Grid in Stafford. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Bend County launches $19.5M rental assistance program June 1

The maximum amount that an approved applicant can receive is $2,000 per month per household.