Paco Balderrama will be sworn in as Fresno’s next police chief on Monday. He was first introduced on December 8 during a virtual news conference.
Current Chief Andy Hall’s last official full day as the top cop is Sunday. He’s overseeing one last violent crime suppression operation through this weekend. The reason? “An unacceptable amount of brazen violent crime and tragic loss of life in our city,” Hall said in a statement earlier in the week.
Paco Balderrama will be sworn in as Fresno’s next police chief on Monday, January 11.
As for why the operation is scheduled to end Sunday?
“I didn’t want to continue an operation beyond my tenure, so I would expect he will continue (it) and he probably has some of his own ideas that he wants to implement,” Hall tells GV Wire℠ by phone.
The Week Ahead
During the official Monday transition, Hall plans on thanking the city, staff and the community for allowing him to serve.
“Then I’ll be handing it over to the new chief,” says Hall. “I’ll obviously be off site because he’ll take over the office.”
Hall says it’s important to give Balderrama his own space so everyone in the department is abundantly clear as to who is in charge.
“I’ll make myself available to him any time. And if he needs me to come down to meet in person, I’ll be happy to respond downtown,” said Hall.
Even with his official retirement coming Friday January 15, Hall said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a successful transition.
“I will be a regular civilian,” says Hall. “I love the city. I love this police department. And I don’t want either to fail and I want Paco to be successful. So I committed to him that I will make myself available any time he needs me and for as long as he needs me.”
Balderrama is already booked solid for several weeks of meetings with local community leaders.
“He’s got a lot of work to do because, you know, most of us, as we grow up in the organization, we have years of this experience with the community,” says Hall.
“I’ll make myself available to him any time. And if he needs me to come down to meet in person, I’ll be happy to respond downtown.”–Outgoing Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall
New Chief Comes With Decades of Experience
Juan Francisco Balderrama, 44 — Paco is his nickname — comes from Oklahoma City with more than 20 years of law enforcement experience.
Growing up in El Paso, Texas, Balderrama moved to Oklahoma City while still in school. After graduation, he and his twin brother Beto worked for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department for four years as detention officers. Paco achieved the rank of sergeant.
In 1999, the Balderrama brothers joined the Oklahoma City Police Department. Paco served as a captain and spokesperson for the department. He was promoted to major in 2017 and deputy chief in 2019, the first Latino to reach such a role in the city.
His duties as deputy chief included the Special Operations Bureau, overseeing criminal intelligence and violent crimes.
Balderrama held many roles with the OCPD. According to his bio, he served as a patrol officer, field training officer, D.A.R.E. instructor, and as public information officer.
He served on a number of civic boards including the Latino Community Development Agency and the Police Athletic League.
Andy Hall Has No Plans to Move
“I’ve got family here and my friends are here. My base is here,” explains Hall. “So I’m going to obviously stay in Fresno.”
He’s been working with the Fresno Police Department since he was 18 years old, and is looking forward to his next chapter after 42 years of service.
“My wife and my family have given up so much for me to be able to do this job, working weekends and holidays and nights and missing a lot of events,” says Hall. “I’m really going to re-connect with my family and see what happens for me.”