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Fresno County Responds to Probation Gun Sale Story
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 13, 2024

Fresno County responds to a GV Wire story about a union questioning a planned but later scrapped Probation Department sale of surplus weapons. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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Fresno County officials say the Probation Department did nothing wrong when it attempted to sell surplus firearms to qualified employees.

The department canceled the proposed sale of 156 Gen 4 Glocks and 10 Remington shotguns after it said it reviewed a 2020 California law allowing such sales if the firearms were used as service weapons. Probation planned to sell the weapons for personal use.

The union representing county department supervisors, SEIU 521, filed a grievance claiming the department never consulted with them about the sale. The union considered the sale a benefit.

The county responded to GV Wire’s story last week.

“The gun buyback option is not a union benefit — it was for those who met eligibility qualifications,” county spokesman Sonja Dosti said in an email.

The 2020 law, AB 2699, limited the sale of surplus weapons to law enforcement employees who kept current with firearms training. The union questioned if everyone who received a March 7 email announcing the proposed sale met those standards.

Who Should Have Been Eligible?

SEIU 521 union vice president John Jasper said that he and several others should have received the email offer.

Dosti disagreed.

“These employees did not meet the eligibility requirements for both the County Probation Department, and AB 2699, specifically as codified under Penal Code section 32000(b)(6),” Dosti said.

Dosti previously told GV Wire that probation department employees must undergo other standards to carry weapons, including psychological examinations.

“This is pursuant to Penal Code 830.5, which provides that certain sworn officers, including probation officers and deputy probation officers, may carry firearms only if authorized and under those terms and conditions specified by their employing agency),” Dosti added.

Jasper also questioned whether a conflict-of-interest was at play. The wives of Chief Probation Officer Kirk Haynes and Deputy Chief Cliff Downing — both of whom are sworn probation officers — were included in the email offer.

“Both Jamee Haynes and Melissa Madsen are probation officers employed with the County’s Probation Department who have met the eligibility requirements,” Dosti said.

County: Proposed Sale Correct

The listed sales price of the 166 weapons totaled $36,150. The union questioned whether a surplus sale amount needed approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Dosti said the sale did not require the board’s OK.

“This is not unclear. BOS approval was not required under these circumstances. Fresno County Ordinance Code 4.04.080 is clear that Board approval is not required for surplus of items of personal property that individually has less than $10,000 in scrap value,” Dosti said.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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