News broke early Wednesday evening that Waterloo Chief of Police Joel Fitzgerald is resigning from his position.

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Waterloo's first black police chief received a pay raise in May of this year, making his salary $165,000 a year, according to an earlier report. This made him the highest paid police chief in Waterloo city history and the second highest paid chief in Iowa, according to reports.

At the time he was a finalist for a position in Vancouver, Washington.

Almost three months later, Fitzgerald is stepping down from the role for a new opportunity in Colorado. The Pennsylvania native has been in the position for two years, assisting the city through the pandemic and nationwide police criticism.

During his tenure, he also had the Waterloo Police department change their insignia due to its similarity to a Ku Klux Klan griffin.

Source: Waterloo Police Department
Source: Waterloo Police Department
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Fitzgerald had been applying for various police chief positions over the past two years. You can read more about that in some of our previous coverage. Four instances (not including the one that got him the position in Colorado) of the Waterloo Police Chief being a contender for other positions are public knowledge.

Fitzerald will officially step down on Friday, August 19th. The interim Police Chief will be Assistant Chief Joe Leibold for an indefinite amount of time, according to reports.

In a press release, Mayor Quentin Hart commented on Fitzgerald's resignation,

"The competition for highly educated and experienced professionals keeps getting tougher, especially when competing against larger markets for skilled talent," the Mayor said. "In this economy, everyone must do what is right for their family. We wish the Fitzgerald family well and thank Joel for all he accomplished in his time here."

Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson also released a statement regarding Chief Fitzgerald.

"On behalf of the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office and all Black Hawk County police officers who have had the opportunity to partner with Chief Joel Fitzgerald, we appreciate his time spent with the Waterloo Police Department and his efforts in enhancing law enforcement in the entire county.  We wish him well in his future endeavors and look forward to continuing to build the partnership that we enjoy with the Waterloo Police Department and their administrative staff.  We pray for Joe Liebold’s success as interim chief and stand ready to support him in his efforts. We anticipate a great future with the new leadership and new opportunities that this transition will present.”

Fitzgerald has held four police chief positions since 2009 in the following cities:

Missouri City, Texas (2009)

Allentown, Pennsylvania (2013)

Fort Worth, Texas (2015)

Waterloo, Iowa (2020)

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