FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City Council Members had a meeting on Tuesday to discuss every department in the City’s 2024 Fiscal Year Budget, including the Fresno Police Department budget.
Fresno’s Police Chief Paco Balderrama presented what he believes police need to keep crime and killings down, which is over $260 million dollars for the Fresno Police Department ahead of the 2024 fiscal year.
If approved, it’ll be the most money ever allocated for Fresno PD in a budget.
The Fresno Police Department stated that they have the most sworn officers ever in its history after the department added 117 new officers throughout 2022 to keep up with retirements and resignations.
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said that the surge in officers is paying off.
“We want to continue the downward trend. When you lower violent crime, and that tends to not be much of a priority we can focus on other crime,” he said.
According to Fresno Police, the statistics said homicides in the city are down over 45% compared to this time last year, as well as violent crime which includes robberies, assaults, and shootings.
Chief Balderrama aims to reduce these numbers even more.
“As we know, a trespassing can turn into a vandalism, a vandalism can turn into a larceny, a larceny can turn into a robbery and a robbery can turn into a homicide,” said Balderrama.
Council member Mike Karbassi said he will not vote to approve the budget unless there is funding for more uniformed officers.
“I like that we’re moving to look at things like property crimes and other things, these are the things we need to go towards, and you’ll have the support at least of me moving forward,” said Karbassi.
On top of another increase in personnel, the budget asks for over half a million dollars to get 74 new patrol cars.
A $600,000 partnership with a mental health triage for officers, $300,000 for new laptops that go into patrol cars, and $140,000 dollars of American Rescue Plan Act money to fix one of the patrol helicopters.
The only crime according to the Fresno Police Department that has gone up is domestic violence by 11%.
The budget has to be changed to what the city council wants to be added, then adopted with the changes and approved before the end of this month.