After much speculation, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer officially announced he is running for Fresno mayor Wednesday, saying he wants to unite the city as “One Fresno.” His announcement was met with criticism from the community and Fresno City Council members.
However, before the city’s top cop could announce his bid, a group of people made sure their disdain for Dyer was heard. As supporters gathered in Manchester Mall’s parking lot, several protesters began shouting, “No more Dyer,” “Liar Dyer” and other chants. The podium Dyer was speaking at was eventually moved inside, but their voices only got stronger.
Other protesters also hung signs on the level above Dyer was holding his press conference. For some of the protesters, they felt Dyer wouldn’t work for all of Fresno.
“We need a mayor that is going to bring healing, will make everyone feel represented,” said protester Brandi Nuse-Villegas.
In response to those critics, Dyer pulled from his 40 years of police experience, saying people should scrutinize his record as police chief.
“It’s not easy to enter into the political arena. It really does require somebody with thick skin,” he said.
While Dyer said people like the protesters may never be reached with messages of unity, he said his experience shows he can unite the city. He touted lowered crime rates and icnreased community involvement with police — especially in southern parts of the city.
Dyer admits his vision wouldn’t happen overnight, but with these accomplishments he already has under his belt he’s confident it could happen.
“Our differences can make us stronger. I’m a firm believer that we have much more in common than we have different with each other,” he said. “With a strong leadership and a single vision, I’m confident we can unite this city.”
Dyer touched on other things he would focus on as mayor, including creating high-paying jobs and investing in infrastructure all over the city.
Not long after Dyer’s announcement, councilman Miguel Arias was quick to call for Dyer to resign immediately. Arias, who’s historically been critical of Dyer, questioned his ability to head the police department full-time and campaign.
In a statement, Arias said in part, “It is important that all those running to lead our city do their part to ensure we serve the best interests of all residents. This begins with a full-time chief of police free of political campaign.”
Councilman Garry Bredefeld fire back against Arias’ statement with one of his own. In his, Bredefeld rejected the call to resign, saying in part, “It is well-known that council member Arias wanted Chief Dyer fired as soon as he took office in January and this is just more of Mr. Arias’ ‘political campaign’ against Dyer.”
Dyer so far is running against Andrew Janz and councilman Luis Chavez. Dyer hopes when the race heats up that Mayor Lee Brand is in his corner.