FRESNO, California (KGPE) — There were two more shootings on Tuesday night after Fresno’s Police Chief made comments about low morale among officers at the City Hall budget meeting.
“I believe that a lot of officers are finding it difficult to risk the lives and the lives of their families when they go out when they could go to jail for that very thing,” said Hall. “I think that a lot of officers see a vehicle that may be full of gang members and turn around because it is easier and they get paid the exact same.”
Hall gave the green light to Fresno Police Captain Mark Salazar to head a gang task force. Since it started last week there have been over 60 arrests.
“We need to stop bleeding,” said Salazar. “We need to stop the shooting. We need to stop the violence.”
Salazar said there have been over 540 shooting in 2020 so far including two on Tuesday night that left three people injured.
“What we have seen this year is a spike in shootings and now we are seeing a spike in murders,” said Salazar. “27% increase in murders. Our shootings have doubled.”
He said last week there were 10 shootings from Monday through Tuesday. This week there were seven.
Hall said 80% of shootings have been gang-related. The operation will run for at least 30 days and is composed of 127 officers.
Since it started, there have been over 60 arrests and close to 40 guns recovered. Salazar said this operation is different than ones before because officers are working with community leaders in high crime areas to find out how residents want to be policed.
“Our community is rallying behind us because they are sick and tired of it,” said Salazar.
The Fresno Commission on Police Reform recently had residents complete a survey. 60% of participants said they did not trust the Fresno Police Department.
Commission Head Oliver Bainers said any effort that builds trust between the community and law enforcement is a step in the right direction.
“And create something better than this,” said Baines. “This moment is time is not going to last forever and the sentiment is not going to last forever. So hopefully we take advantage of the opportunity we see before us.”
Salazar said he plans to meet with community leaders to update them on the task force in a couple of weeks.