Chief Joel Fitzgerald Leaves Legacy of Leadership

Missouri City names Interim Chief Mike Berezin

Missouri City recently bade a fond farewell to Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald who departed the “Show Me City” to return to the East Coast and serve as Chief of Police in Allentown, Penn.

Missouri City recently bade a fond farewell to Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald who departed the “Show Me City” to return to the East Coast and serve as Chief of Police in Allentown, Penn.

Leaving a formidable legacy of leadership, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is moving on from the “Show Me City” to continue his career as Chief of Police in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During his 4 1/2-year tenure, Fitzgerald has been instrumental in promoting transparency within the Missouri City Police department and has made great strides in fostering crime-prevention partnerships with the public.

Implementing innovative community-oriented and problem-solving policing strategies, Fitzgerald worked with the force to achieve multiple successes, including earning the City national recognition for its safe streets. This year alone, Missouri City was ranked as one of the top 20 safest cities in Texas by Safe Wise, a company that specializes in security systems; and, the Department became the 26th Texas police department to receive re-recognized accreditation status from the Texas Police Chief’s Association. In acknowledging the accomplishment, independent TPCA auditors noted that MCPD passed an expanded 165 standards as part of the process.

“Achieving this is a result of the commitment and dedication that exists throughout the entire organization,” Fitzgerald said at a recent event held to honor his contributions. “I have officers that are working here day in and day out, and they know what the level of expectation is here in Missouri City. We raised the level of expectation, and I’m very excited to have been part of the team here.”

Utilizing more than 22 years of comprehensive law-enforcement experience, Fitzgerald was adept at strategic planning and instilling organizational accountability through COMPSTAT, intelligence-led policing, training initiatives, proactive policies and community collaborations. These efforts led the Missouri City Police Department to achieve “recognition” for standards of operational excellence and to become a benchmark for agencies seeking to foster similar relationships with their communities.

“Chief Fitzgerald has brought a lot of new and innovative ideas to Missouri City,” said Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen. “He is known nationwide for his efforts, and a lot of people have been trying to hire him over the years. Allentown just touched home,” he said referring to Fitzgerald’s East Coast roots.

Before coming to Missouri City, Fitzgerald was an esteemed member of the City of Philadelphia Police Department where he gained significant experience in narcotics enforcement and violent crime abatement. Expertise he gained there and partnerships he has built here have resulted in helping the City reduce major crimes by more than 32 percent over the past five years.

“If you think about how he has pushed and motivated the Police department to become one of the premier law-enforcement agencies in this state, if not in the country, it’s an amazing thing,” City Manager Edward Broussard said. “He led the paradigm shift toward community-oriented policing. The community knows who the police officers are.”

Fitzgerald is a 2010 winner of the NAACP President’s Award for his community policing work, and has been honored for exceptional service as Chief of Police in Missouri City by the Texas State House of Representatives (Bill-HR 2121). As a proponent of higher education, he holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration, an M.B.A., a B.A., and is a graduate of numerous executive management programs including: the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), FBI-LEEDS, DEA DUCA, Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, and the prestigious Harvard University Kennedy School-Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

“I’m amazed at how many people I’ve run across that have met Joel and how impressed they are with him and what he’s done in Missouri City,” Stafford Police Chief Bobby Krahn said. “In Texas, a cowboy who throws a big loop gathers in a lot of people, and he has definitely done that.”

Joel serves on the IACP Forensics Committee, the TPCA Legislative Committee, and is a member of numerous professional and charitable organizations. He and his wife, Detective Pauline Fitzgerald, have three children, one of which also proudly serves in law enforcement.

Before departing, Fitzgerald announced Assistant Chief of Operations Mike Berezin as Interim Chief. Berezin, well-known for his leadership and exemplary service, was promoted to his assistant chief position in 2011 and was in command of the Patrol and the Criminal Investigation Divisions. He began his law enforcement career with the Missouri City Police Department in January 1989 as a Patrol Officer.

Photos courtesy of Missouri City Shown is Interim Chief Mike Berezin.

Photos courtesy of Missouri City
Shown is Interim Chief Mike Berezin.

Interim Chief Mike Berezin has an exemplary record of service and succeeds Fitzgerald.

Chief Berezin has served as Field Training Officer, Crime Scene Investigator, Patrol Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant and Captain of the Patrol Division. In that position, he oversaw the department’s respected community outreach program through which supervisors are assigned to attend homeowners’ association meetings and collaborate with residents on crime prevention measures.

In 1990 he was honored as “Officer of the Year” by the Fort Bend County 100 Club; the award was also bestowed on him in 2001 by the 100 Club of Greater Houston.

Assistant Chief Berezin is a graduate of the Leadership Command College at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and of the 236th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Missouri City is currently conducting a nationwide search for the Police Chief position.

For more information and updates, like us on Facebook—www.facebook.com/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter—@MissouriCityTX, and watch the City’s website: www.missouricitytx.gov and Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse).

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