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Balderrama: 'I Plan on Leading This Police Department to Even Greater Heights'
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
June 12, 2024
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Police Chief Paco Balderrama speaks outside a Fresno City Council budget meeting, reaffirming his commitment to continue in his role. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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Paco Balderrama said he plans to remain Fresno police chief, despite allegations he had an inappropriate relationship.

“I am human. I am imperfect. I work extremely hard. So I plan on continuing to lead this police department to even greater heights,” Balderrama said at an impromptu news conference Wednesday outside Fresno City Council chambers.

Last week, Mayor Jerry Dyer’s administration announced it launched an investigation into Balderrama for “an inappropriate off-duty relationship he was involved in with a non-city employee.”

According to a published report, the alleged relationship was with the spouse of a Fresno police officer, lasting more than two years.

Balderrama appeared publicly for the first since news broke last week of the investigation. He spoke to the city council during budget hearings.

He spoke to the media during the lunch break saying he could not discuss the ongoing investigation.

“This is the most difficult time in my life and in my family’s life. So, I do ask for a little bit of grace. I do ask for a little bit of forgiveness. I’ve never claimed to be perfect,” Balderrama said.

On Monday, Balderrama sent an email to police staff, asking for forgiveness. On Wednesday, he emphasized that he wrote it “myself” and it came from the heart.

Says Family Forgave Him

Balderrama also talked about his family.

“I’m also very proud of my family. And I can tell you that, I owe them forgiveness. And I’ve gotten it,” Balderrama said.

He asked the media not to ask “salacious questions.”

“My family is not doing well and I’m not doing well. But despite that, I will continue being the chief of one of the best police departments in America,” Balderrama said.

Balderrama said if he were an insurance salesman, or leader of a different department, media interest would be different.

“Would this make news? No, it wouldn’t,” he said.

Balderrama Not Concerned About Potential Eroding Support

The police union, the Fresno Police Officers’ Association, scheduled an emergency executive meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“While the (Dyer administration) statement is true, it omits the most critical component of the investigation, and that is the nature of the relationship itself. The FPOA has confirmed information beyond what has been released in (the city’s) public statement, but not are at liberty to divulge that information at this time,” FPOA President Brandon Wiemiller wrote to his membership last week.

Balderrama said he is not concerned about losing support of the rank and file.

“I don’t worry. I’m a police chief. I get bad news all day long, all night long about terrible things that are happening … whether I’m the police chief here or not the police chief here, in the big scheme of things that is going on in the city, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not that big of a deal,” Balderrama said.

Since his hire in January 2021, Balderrama said the union has only filed two grievances against him, both of which were withdrawn.

“I actually work very well with the union. Now, are there people out there who would love to see me go and fail? Yeah, there’s people out there all over the community who would love to see me fail, but that’s not going to happen,” Balderrama said.

Chief Says He Has Community Support

Balderrama said he still has community support.

“I want to say thank you to the community and my police officers, because I have received hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of messages, send me Bible verses saying that they’re praying for me and my family is asking me, please don’t quit,” Balderrama said.

He displayed prayer beads, given to him by one of his officers.

“I’m going to get through this, and my family’s going to get through this because God is great and I’m a professional and I’m going to keep on working at it,” Balderrama said.

Dyer declined comment about the investigation.

Last week, City Attorney Andrew Janz said his office is conducting the investigation, led by an outside investigator. Janz on Wednesday did not have an updated timetable of when the investigation will be complete.

The city council also held a special closed session meeting Wednesday morning to officially discuss the vaguely-worded “potential litigation.” Sources told GV Wire the discussion included an update about the city’s investigation. After the 30-plus minute meeting, the city council reported no action.

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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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