FORT WORTH, Texas — Thursday afternoon, Ed Kraus made his first public appearance as the 28th police chief of the City of Fort Worth.
"Let me just say I'm extremely humbled by the confidence city leadership has shown in me," he said. "I'm extremely honored to continue in this leadership role."
The career Fort Worth officer had been interim chief since Chief Joel Fitzgerald was fired six months ago.
"Very good individual. Very good police officer," activist Cory Session said of Kraus. "He's the epitome of what an officer should be."
Session got to know Kraus over a span of 18 months while they both worked on the City's Race and Culture Task Force.
"I expressed to [city manager] David Cooke a few months ago, if you’re thinking about doing a national search, save the city some money and just go ahead and go with Ed Kraus," Session said.
Not everyone felt the same.
Kraus quickly faced national scrutiny when one of his officers shot and killed a woman named Atatiana Jefferson in her own home.
Kraus and other city leaders attended Jefferson's funeral.
"Our feelings are very troubled," said Daniel Garcia Rodriguez, co-founder of the activist group United Fort Worth. Garcia Rodriguez said his organization is disappointed not only that there were no public forums on the chief job, but also that the city didn't look at any other candidates.
"All we're asking for, at its simplicity, is let our communities be involved in this process and decision-making," he said.
City Manager David Cooke said he didn't see a need for a national search after getting so much feedback on Kraus during his six months as interim chief.
"We have received so many positive comments about his leadership, about his transparency," Cooke said.
"We would love to partner with people that maybe don’t see the police as their ally or somebody they’d traditionally partner with," Kraus said.
As the event wrapped up, an unexpected person walked up: Atatiana Jefferson's cousin, a man named Michael Sneed, who had driven in from Dallas.
"I saw it on the news and I said, 'Well, hey, I need to go over and say thank you and congratulate and let the people of Fort Worth know they have a great man,'" Sneed said.
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