Bill Fitzgerald, who has headed up Yavapai County's adult probation department for the past 11 years, will take his expertise to the next level when he assumes his seat on the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission later this month.
Gov. Jane Dee Hull appointed Fitzgerald, 50, to the commission, which the Legislature established in 1982 to serve as a resource for criminal justice agencies on issues ranging from drugs, gangs and victim assistance to record-keeping improvement.
The commission comprises 19 members, 10 of whom are elected officials and nine of whom are criminal justice agency heads.
Their appointments are for two-year terms, and Fitzgerald hopes to act as the voice and the ears of probation officials, especially when it comes to the distribution of more than 200 grants that come through state and federal sources.
Seven other new appointees will join Fitzgerald at the commission's next meeting Sept. 21.
They will join existing members who include Arizona Attorney General Janet Napalitano, Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and Terry Stewart, the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Fitzgerald, who in June won election as president of the Arizona Probation Chiefs' Association, said his nomination to the justice commission was an unexpected honor. He added that he believes Hull does not expect board members to act under any preconceived political agenda.
"The only thing the governor asked is that we vote our conscience," he said.