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Fresno Police Chief Balderrama on Paid Leave, City Manager Says
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
June 12, 2024

While Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, left, is on paid administrative leave, Deputy Chief MIndy Casto will take the helm. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama is now on paid leave as of Wednesday afternoon, City Manager Georgeanne White said in an email to police employees Wednesday afternoon.

“We believe this will restore stability to our department after a period of great turmoil.” — Fresno Police Officers Association executive board, on the city’s decision to place Chief Paco Balderrama on paid leave

White also said that Deputy Chief Mindy Casto “will have operational control” of the department immediately.

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

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

“In light of the intense public scrutiny surrounding the administrative investigation and the best interest of all parties involved, Chief Balderrama will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” White wrote in the email.

City Attorney Andrew Janz’s office is conducting the investigation, using an outside investigator. Janz on Wednesday did not have an updated timetable of when the investigation will be complete.

In an email message to its members, the Fresno Police Officers Association’s executive board said that it “agrees with the city placing Chief Balderrama on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of their investigation” and that it “is in the best interest of all parties involved.”

Added the FPOA executive board: “We believe this will restore stability to our department after a period of great turmoil.”

City spokesperson Sontaya Rose declined to comment about Balderrama being placed on paid leave. And, Balderrama declined to comment as well.

Balderrama Publicly Vowed to Stay

Just hours earlier, Balderrama held an impromptu news conference, vowing to remain on duty.

“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 outside Fresno City Council chambers.

Balderrama had earlier appeared in front of the city council for budget hearings.

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

FPOA President Brandon Wiemiller declined to comment about the meeting discussions.

Read the City Manager’s Email

 

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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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