Fresno City Council listens to over 40 public comment calls after police presentation

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The Fresno City Council listened to more than 40 calls of public comment after Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall and his team gave a presentation on the department’s budget and roles on Monday.

A group of community members gathered Monday morning, asking City Council to listen to them.

“When we talk about divesting from the police or defunding the police or abolishing the police, we’re talking about love us, trust us, invest in us as a community,” said Ashley Rojas, the executive director with Fresno Barrios Unidos.

City Council President Miguel Arias said it’s about finding ways that allow for less police intervention for things that aren’t critical public safety calls.

“We have officers who are cleaning up homeless encampments, where in other cities, social workers do that work and non profit organizations and faith groups, so it’s about finding different ways to get to the same outcome but that allows officers to focus on critical public safety calls,” Arias said.

The Fresno Police 2020 fiscal year budget was $184,896,900.

During his presentation, Hall said currently, the department has 799 sworn police officers and 254 civilian personnel.

“I want you to keep in mind that 10 years ago, we had 849 police officers policing the city of Fresno and over 450 civilian staff,” Hall said.

During the meeting, Hall had a band across his badge, in honor of the deputy who was killed in Santa Cruz County last week.

“I just want you to consider as we move forward, that while we won’t be able to march, we do mourn in our way the loss of life,” Hall said.

Most of the calls City Council listened to were of people asking to give more funding toward their communities instead of the police department.

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