Waterloo's new police chief is now on the job.

Dr. Joel Fitzgerald, Sr., was sworn-in at Monday night's city council meeting. He's the first African-American chosen for the position and the 38th leader of the Waterloo police force in the city's history.

"This is a great opportunity and a new chapter," Mayor Quentin Hart said. "We had an incredible search, going through our candidates."

The city council unanimously approved Fitzgerald's appointment in April. He was selected by Hart over three other finalists to replace former Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka, who retired at the end of 2019.

"I'm proud and honored to be the choice of police chief and lead this agency," Fitzgerald said. "I promise you won't be disappointed about what you see out of our department."

Fitzgerald has accepted the task of leading Waterloo police's force at a time when civil unrest has made it difficult for police officers to maintain public safety and order across the country. Fitzgerald said he welcomes the challenge he's facing in Waterloo.

"We're focused on ... accountability and leadership," Fitzgerald said. And who, as police officers and people discharged with the duties with wearing a badge, a gun, and wearing a uniform every day, are we accountable to? Each and every one of you, from all walks of life. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. That's what you can expect from this police department."

Fitzgerald is a 28-year law enforcement veterans, who served as police chief in Fort Worth, Texas -- the 13th-largest city in the United States -- from 2015 to 2019. Last year, Fitzgerald was hired as a chief deputy by the Philadelphia County sheriff's department in Pennsylvania.

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