Fort Worth Announces New Police Chief

January 25,2021

See full Fort Worth Magazine article by Scott Nishimura here.

The City of Fort Worth on Monday chose Neil Noakes, a 20-year veteran of the city’s police force, to be the department’s next chief.

Noakes was chosen from among six finalists and named chief during a news conference Monday afternoon, held by City Manager David Cooke, Deputy City Manager Jay Chapa, and Mayor Betsy Price.

“Chief Noakes brings many years of community-based law enforcement experience to the chief’s office, and even more important, he brings innovative leadership and a desire for genuine engagement with the residents we serve,” Cooke said. “In every position throughout his career, Chief Noakes has focused on community problem-solving, reducing crime, and enhancing justice and equity for all of our residents."

Noakes joined the Fort Worth department in 2000. He started in North Patrol and moved through East Side Patrol, traffic and criminal investigations, motorcycles, and DWI. In 2015, then a sergeant, he was promoted to lieutenant. Noakes served as downtown special events coordinator and as field training coordinator, then in internal affairs for a year and a half through November 2017.

From 2017 to 2019, he was commander over North Patrol, over 130 sworn and civilian employees. In March 2019, he was promoted to deputy chief, responsible for various commands.

Noakes holds an associate’s degree in general studies from Weatherford College, bachelor’s in criminal justice administration from Tarleton State University, and a master’s in criminal justice and criminology from Texas Christian University. He earned the associate’s in 1998, the Tarleton degree in 2016, and master’s in 2019.

With two others, he developed a graduate-level leadership and professional development certification program in TCU’s criminal justice department. Noakes has also served in numerous community initiatives.

Noakes, during a news conference Monday, pledged transparency, accountability, and “community inclusion” in the work of the police.

“The most important part we may not recognize as much as we should is the part the community plays,” Noakes said.

Noakes also pledged to listen to the department’s officers, citing his eight years in patrol. “I’m not that far removed from my time in patrol,” he said.

The other finalists were Wendy Baimbridge of Houston, Troy Gay of Austin, Christopher C. Jones of Las Vegas, Derick D. Miller of Carrollton, and Julie A. Swearingin of the Fort Worth Police. They were chosen from a pool of 50 applicants. The city worked with the recruitment agency Strategic Government Resources to select a new chief after Ed Kraus announced last year he would retire.