Local NewsFort Worth Selects New Police Chief From Its Own Department

Fort Worth named its new police chief, Neil Noakes, who begins his service immediately. Noakes takes on a police force that has come under some scrutiny after the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson in 2019.
January 25, 2021
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.

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“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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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.

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