Fresno Reform recommendations include removing school officers, homeless task force

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) — The commission on the police reform is recommending 73 reforms, some want reforms on how police respond to the homeless and those with mental health issues.

The recommendations include not having police officers respond to mental health, non-violent, or homeless calls.

One of the biggest proposals is removing the student resource officers. The contract between the schools and the city ends soon.

The commission was created after thousands of citizens protested through downtown back in June over the death of George Floyd. The protesters demanded reform on Fresno’s Police Department.

The commission wants to spend the money on neighborhood development instead.

Former police officer and Fresno Councilman Oliver Baines was chosen to head the commission.

“I think that this is a great start to offer some meaningful reform,” said Baines.

Another proposed change would create a new Civilians Oversight Board, which would be made up of 11-13 citizens to review officer complaints, investigation, disciplinary action, and police training.

The board would then give recommendations to the city.

“They wouldn’t have the power to overturn anything,” said Baines. “The charter only gives any disciplinary authority to the city manager.”

Other recommendations include behavioral health and medical professionals, like EMTs, would be sent to mental health calls instead of police, greater diversity when hiring officers, getting rid of the homeless task force, and reigning in the use of deadly force.

“It ultimately goes into the training and the mindset,” said Baines. “And the philosophy but we pulled that from other agencies around the county.”

Fresno Police Officer Association President Todd Faizer said he is disappointed in some of the recommendations like getting rid of school officers and the homeless task force.

He worries that law enforcement is being “demonized” and recruiting is suffering.

“We are already at crisis levels,” said Fraizer. “We have been de facto defunded for many years. I am a resident of Fresno. I have been here 31 years. I love the city but I am scared of the rate we are going.”

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