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Dyer, FPOA, Officer's Attorney Weigh in on Police Chief Paco Balderrama's Resignation
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 weeks ago on
June 25, 2024
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Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama submitted his resignation to city leaders on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 following an investigation into his alleged affair with the wife of a Fresno police officer. (GV Wire Composite)

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Paco Balderrama resigned as Fresno police chief after being accused of having an affair with the wife of a police officer under his command.

“He did involve himself in an inappropriate relationship, used poor discretion in doing so, and that is far below the standard that we have as an expectation of our police chief.” — Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer

Mayor Jerry Dyer, City Manager Georgeanne White and City Attorney Andrew Janz made the announcement at a Tuesday morning news conference at City Hall.

“We do believe this resignation by the chief is in the best interests of the community, the police department and our employees, as well as for Chief Balderrama and the families involved, given the intense media scrutiny that this matter has received,” Dyer said.

Dyer said this was the most difficult decision in his three-plus years as mayor.

“This ranks up at the at the top,” Dyer said.

Casto Now Interim Chief

Mindy Casto, already named acting chief, will now serve as interim chief, White said.

Casto worked her way up the chain of command since starting as a 16-year old police explorer in the 1990s. She started as an officer with Fresno Police in 1997.

The department promoted her to sergeant in 2003, lieutenant in 2015, captain in 2018, and deputy chief in 2022. She is the first female to lead the Fresno Police Department.

“The city manager and I have complete trust and confidence in Acting Chief Mindy Casto to run the police department during this transition,” Dyer said.

Dyer plans for a national search to start immediately, with a goal of hiring a new chief in five months. Dyer said the search would likely use outside consultants and police management groups.

Mindy Casto, seated, will serve as interim police chief in the wake of Paco Balderrama’s resignation on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Investigation Started in February

They city said Balderrama informed Dyer and White about an inappropriate relationship on Feb. 17.

The city acknowledged the investigation on June 6, after GV Wire and other media reported stories about Balderrama’s impropriety. He initially stayed on the job, until White placed him on paid leave on June 12.

FPOA President Brandon Wiemiller

“The FPOA agrees with the City that Paco Balderrama’s resignation is best for all parties involved.” — FPOA President Bandon Wiemiller

While the city has characterized Balderrama’s action as an “off-duty relationship he was involved in with a non-city employee,” Dyer and White acknowledged the nature of the affair.

Although not mentioned during Tuesday’s news conference, GV Wire learned that Balderrama carried on an affair for more than two years with the wife of a police officer under his command, Jordan Wamhoff.

Wamhoff is an elected member of the Madera County Board of Supervisors and a former vice president of the Fresno Police Officers Association.

Balderrama’s contract with the city requires 30 days’ notice. He will serve with the department as a consultant until July 25. The city did not offer a severance package. White said Balderrama will turn in his equipment, including his badge and gun, in the coming days.

After serving as deputy chief in Oklahoma City, Balderrama started as police chief in January 2021, weeks after Dyer — the former chief — started as mayor. Dyer did not directly hire Balderrama. Lee Brand hired Balderrama a month before, with consultation from Dyer.

Janz said Andrew Aller of Fresno-based law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo handled the investigation on behalf of the city. Invoices through May totaled $25,000.

‘Poor Discretion’

White pushed back on the media narrative that Balderrama held back the career of the aggrieved party. Both she and Dyer denied that Balderrama abused his authority.

“I am able to state that this allegation was not sustained and evidence to the contrary was presented,” White said. “This does not excuse Chief Balderrama behavior as it relates to the inappropriate relationship because, as he has stated, those actions cannot be justified or defended and are below the standards that he holds for himself and that we hold for the chief of police for the city of Fresno.”

Brian Whelan, attorney for the aggrieved officer, disputed that finding.

“These efforts included a request to honor a 2022 agreement in which Balderrama promised my client a specific position within the department. Balderrama later reneged on this agreement in a bid to further his extramarital affair, a clear violation of professional and ethical standards,” Whelan said.

“Although the city’s investigation — funded by the city — did not officially uphold the allegation that Balderrama abused his authority to assign this position to another officer, his resignation stands as undeniable evidence of his misconduct and breach of public trust,” Whelan said.

Dyer said that Balderrama exercised poor judgment.

“He did involve himself in an inappropriate relationship, used poor discretion in doing so, and that is far below the standard that we have as an expectation of our police chief,” Dyer said.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, right, and City Manager Georgeanne White announce the resignation of Police Chief Paco Balderrama, Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at City Hall. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Aggrieved Officer’s Attorney Responds

The aggrieved officer notified the city of the alleged affair between his wife and Balderrama, Whelan said in a statement to GV Wire.

Brian Whelan Portrait

“This resignation is a direct result of the courageous actions of my client, who bravely stepped forward in February to expose the misconduct and breaches of trust perpetrated by Balderrama.” — Attorney Brian Whelan

Whelan called Balderrama’s resignation “a significant victory for justice and integrity.”

“This resignation is a direct result of the courageous actions of my client, who bravely stepped forward in February to expose the misconduct and breaches of trust perpetrated by Balderrama,” Whelan said.

“My client’s fortitude has not only brought relief to himself but also to the numerous Fresno Police officers who have been betrayed by Balderrama’s actions. Any attempt by the city to spin this resignation as anything other than Balderrama facing the consequences of his misconduct is a misrepresentation of reality.

“The reality is clear: Paco Balderrama’s own unethical behavior is the reason for his departure. It is deeply regrettable that it took media scrutiny, rather than decisive action and a commitment to police ethics and moral clarity, to spur the city’s decision-makers into action.

Whelan called this a “conclusion” to the matter.

“It is now time to move forward, especially for the young children of both families affected by these actions, who deserve a future free from the shadows of these events,” Whelan said.

Balderrama Issues Statement

Balderrama did not appear at the news conference. The city provided a statement from Balderrama:

“Serving as Chief of Police for the City of Fresno over the last three and one-half years has truly been the privilege of a lifetime. I want to thank the administration for giving me this opportunity. The men and women of the Fresno Police Department are second to none.

“During this period, we have been able to grow the department to an allotted 926 positions, reduced violent and property crime by double digits, and leveraged communication and technology to become a more effective police department. Perhaps most importantly, all members have embraced our community engagement efforts which have significantly increased trust with those we serve.

“The people of Fresno are beautiful, diverse, and very supportive of their police department. Even through my most difficult trials you have been kind, forgiving, and uplifting. Thank you for being there for me. The rewarding part of the job has not been the huge responsibility, job stress, or intense work. It has always been the people. I will miss both the Fresno community and every member of the Fresno Police Department. I have no doubt that this group of hard-working and compassionate police officers and professional staff will continue to thrive and do great things. This is the right time for me to step away and focus on my faith and family. I love you.”

Dyer Disappointed, But Praises Balderrama

Dyer said he was disappointed when Balderrama first informed him of the affair. Dyer said Balderrama was “remorseful.”

Dyer expects Balderrama to become a chief again someday.

“Whether or not Chief Balderrama is hirable in the future by an outside agency is really lies in the hands of that governing body. I do believe that he has hiring potential. And I do believe that he’ll receive another police chief’s job in the future should he choose to pursue one,” Dyer said.

If asked about Balderrama by another mayor, Dyer said he would be transparent about the former chief’s good qualities, but also about the events leading to the resignation.

Dyer praised him for reducing homicide and other crime rates, recruiting 300 officers and dispatchers, and building partnerships with other law enforcement agencies.

Balderrama applied in May to become police chief in Austin, Texas. Austin plans to make its hiring decision in July.

Police Union Responds

The Fresno Police Officers Association issued a statement, supporting the investigation and the Balderrama resignation.

The FPOA agrees with the City that Paco Balderrama’s resignation is best for all parties involved,” FPOA President Bandon Wiemiller said in a statement.

“We know our officers, along with our community, are seeking closure and understanding. Despite the turmoil of recent days, our officers remain undaunted in their mission to protect, serve, and care for the citizens of Fresno. As this chapter closes, we look to the future. The FPOA has full faith and confidence in the existing, highly qualified leadership to move our agency forward,” Wiemiller said.

Dyer said he feels badly for the officers and employees, understanding how Balderrama’s actions affected morale.

City Manager Criticizes Media Coverage

White criticized media coverage of the Balderrama affair and investigation, calling it salacious, a distraction and a “media circus.”

“Our focus now is on healing and rebuilding the trust that has been shaken. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our police department continues to serve and protect our community with the highest level of professionalism and dedication.” — City Council President Annalisa Perea

She criticized one organization for printing unsubstantiated facts without a byline.

The Police Officer Bill of Rights, which also applies to the chief, prevented the city from speaking until the investigation finished.

“I’s been very frustrating,” White said. “We’ve tried to block out the noise and the false narrative that’s been put out there and keep our heads down and work on getting this investigation completed and to make the best decisions for the city of Fresno.”

Dyer called some of the reporting “inaccurate due to unreliable sources, which has proven to be unfair to both of the families involved. And especially the children who have suffered greatly throughout this ordeal.”

GV Wire asked Dyer, isn’t Balderrama solely responsible for what was perceived by some as negative coverage?

“I don’t want this to be about the media. I want this to be about the fact that we had an individual who made poor choices. And, as a result of those poor choices, he’s accepted responsibility. And the consequences and those consequences are that he resigned as police chief of the city of Fresno,” Dyer said.

Council President Responds

The Fresno City Council met several times in the last few weeks in closed session discussing the Balderrama matter. Although the council does not hire or fire the police chief, it does have to approve any potential lawsuit settlement.

“Our focus now is on healing and rebuilding the trust that has been shaken. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our police department continues to serve and protect our community with the highest level of professionalism and dedication,” City Council President Annalisa Perea said in a statement.

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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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