FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Fresno’s newest top cop started his first day on the job on Monday.
Police Chief Paco Balderrama was sworn into office by his twin brother. The twins went to the police academy and served on the Oklahoma Police Department together. This is the first time they will be working for different departments.
Balderrama will be thrown into the fire as he tries to get Fresno’s skyrocketing crime rate under control. Already in 2021, there have been over 20 shootings and five homicides
“There is a lot of work to do, obviously,” said Balderrama. “Things are going to change. We are going to work very hard to make sure this city is a safer place to live.”
Former Chief and current Mayor Jerry Dyer said a great Chief must be loyal, honest, sacrificial, and compassionate. He believes Balderrama is the perfect fit.
“This is a great day for Fresno. The citizens of Fresno will not be disappointed in their next police chief,” Dyer.
Just an hour and a half before the ceremony, a person was rushed to the hospital and two people arrested for a shooting just a couple blocks away from City Hall.
“There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed immediately and violent crime is number one,” said Balderrama.
His other top priorities are community trust and working to implement reform within the department.
“Lots of challenges lie ahead of me but I think I have the staff and the partnerships to make a difference,” said Balderrama.
Balderrama is the city’s first Latino Police Chief.
He takes over for Andrew Hall. Hall took over in October of 2019 and is retiring.