Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Investment in Fresno PD Will Protect Citizens, Boost Economy
Darius-Assemi
By Darius Assemi
Published 7 years ago on
August 31, 2017

Share


OPINION BY DARIUS ASSEMI
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand made good this week on his promises to hire a full-time independent police auditor who resides in Fresno and to appoint a Citizens Public Safety Advisory Board.
It is my fervent hope that John Gliatta, a former FBI agent and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office crime analyst, teams with the advisory board to bring more transparency to the Fresno Police Department and strengthen the bond between citizens and officers.
I commend the mayor, too, for his plan to eventually make Fresno PD 1,000 officers strong. This mission will require a great deal of leadership, courage and community support, but Fresno has the right ingredients to get it done.
You might ask, “Don’t we already have enough police officers?”
My answer: The numbers speak for themselves. More and higher paid officers are sorely needed and, when funded, they will make Fresno a better and safer city.

RESPONSE TIMES

Call response time is a basic measure of performance and workload. Here the Fresno Police Department lags seriously behind its neighbors.
According to Fresno PD records, average response time for the lowest priority calls is more than 16 hours.
By comparison, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reports times of about four hours for the lowest priority responses in Fresno/Clovis unincorporated areas. Clovis PD has an average of just 15 minutes for low-priority calls.
These differences are staggering. Many of us who have been the subject of a crime with a cold scene have experienced these extreme wait times firsthand.
Don’t get me wrong. The problem is not lack of effort by our officers. They are working their hardest every day. There simply are not enough of them to handle the call volume.
Nor are there sufficient officers to engage in the most effective form of policing. It’s commonly called “community policing” and it involves building strong relationships between officers and residents.
Unfortunately, Fresno police are too busy answering calls, chasing bad guys and investigating serious crimes to truly engage in community policing.
While the FBI recommends two officers per 1,000 residents, Fresno sits at about 1.3 per thousand. Using the FBI figure, we should have 1,031 officers. We have about 760 – despite being budgeted for 804 officers today and 825 in the next budget.
Why is that?
Despite initiatives by Police Chief Jerry Dyer to retain and recruit more officers, the city is losing prospective hires out of the police academy and veterans. They are joining other police agencies in the Valley and throughout the state. Perhaps the biggest reason is that the salaries paid Fresno’s officers trail other agencies.
Put yourself in the officer’s shoes. If you can earn more and not be racing from call to call, wouldn’t you look outside the Fresno Police Department?

You need only to look at the salary gaps between Clovis and Fresno police officers to understand the challenge Chief Dyer faces. As the chart shows, Fresno’s pay for rookie patrol officers trails that of Clovis by 16.2%. A newly promoted sergeant in Clovis makes 21.8% more than his Fresno counterpart.
So where do we get the funding to end the salary disparity and to add officers?
We grow the General Fund by expanding Fresno’s economic base. And, I might add, strengthening the economy already is one of the cornerstone goals of the Brand administration.
The only difference between what the mayor has proposed and what I envision is timing. By making earlier investments in public safety, we can accelerate economic expansion.
Even further, there is clear statistical and real-life documentation of the benefits offered by a more equitable balance between the number of officers and the citizens they serve.
A UC Berkeley and National Bureau of Economic Research study from 2012 demonstrated that while investment in individual protections (such as home alarm systems) saves money, community-wide spending on funding for officers is a better bargain —delivering a $1.60 return for every tax dollar.
Early investment in public safety will deliver a win-win for Fresnans in every neighborhood. Residents will be safer, local businesses will have the confidence to expand, and out-of-town companies looking to relocate will accurately see Fresno as a prime site.

What We Must Do

This is how our community can play a significant role in putting more officers on the street:

  • One, we must hold our elected officials accountable and ensure that funding designated for law enforcement is spent for that purpose.
  • Two, we must put our money where our mouths are and support reasonable, cost-effective proposals for improved public safety.
  • Three, our public officials must be willing to listen to the needs of the community and demonstrate the courage to propose those policies which may be initially unpopular, but will produce positive results.

Now is not the time for political posturing. Rather, it’s a time for meeting the compensation needs required to recruit and retain officers, stabilize the force and build an improved culture of excellence.
Our hardworking officers should be paid what they deserve for their loyal service and huge contributions to the community.  They should not lag officers in neighboring communities when it comes to providing for their families.
By putting Fresno first – and not politics –I am confident we can forge real change that cuts crime and strengthens our business climate.
Darius Assemi, a Fresno area builder, farmer and philanthropist, is publisher of GV Wire.

DON'T MISS

Fuzzy Little Adeline Will Purr You to Sleep

DON'T MISS

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

DON'T MISS

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

DON'T MISS

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

DON'T MISS

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

DON'T MISS

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

DON'T MISS

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

DON'T MISS

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

DON'T MISS

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

DON'T MISS

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

UP NEXT

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

UP NEXT

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

UP NEXT

Fresno Home Care Workers Threaten Civil Disobedience Over Low Pay

UP NEXT

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

UP NEXT

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

UP NEXT

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

UP NEXT

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

UP NEXT

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

UP NEXT

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have to Execute It’: FUSD Board President

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

13 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

13 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

14 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

15 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

Local Education /

17 hours ago

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

17 hours ago

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

17 hours ago

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

18 hours ago

About 1 in 4 US Adults Over 50 Say They Expect to Never Retire, an AARP Study Finds

19 hours ago

Biden Signs a $95 Billion War Aid Measure With Assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

19 hours ago

Fuzzy Little Adeline Will Purr You to Sleep

Beautiful little mama Adeline once had a home, a warm bed and food, people to love her. But her humans failed to have Adeline spayed and whe...
Animals /

18 mins ago

Animals /
18 mins ago

Fuzzy Little Adeline Will Purr You to Sleep

12 hours ago

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

13 hours ago

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

CA District 27 Assembly candidate Joanna Garcia Rose
13 hours ago

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

13 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

14 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

15 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

Local Education /
17 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend