FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Fresno officially announced it’s first Hispanic police chief in the city’s history Tuesday.
Mayor Lee Brand and Mayor-Elect Jerry Dyer announced on Tuesday that the next chief of police will be Oklahoma City Deputy Chief Paco Balderrama.
“He had strong competition – but he was clearly the top candidate,” said Brand. “And most of all he will inspire people and help bring unity to the city of Fresno. Ladies and gentlemen help me welcome Paco Balderrama as Fresno’s next chief of police.”
Balderrama will start on January 11th. Current Chief Andrew Hall will retire on January 15th.
Balderrama said his first two priorities are community trust and community safety.
The El Paso native plans to hit the ground running, including implementing some of the 73 recommendations from Fresno’s Commission on Police Reform.
“After 2020, I don’t think police work will be the same as it used to be,” said Balderrama. “So I do anticipate some changes. I do anticipate sitting down with the commission and working with them to make this community safer and the Police Department better.”
Balderrama is a graduate of the FBI’s Police Academy, has a master’s degree and several bachelors’ degrees. He served with the Oklahoma Police Department for 21 years.
Mayor-Elect and former Police Chief Jerry Dyer described Balderrama as a good communicator and a hard worker, who will bring a fresh perspective on how to build trust between officers and the community.
“I believe the department learned somethings from the outside that were overlooked in the past,” said Dyer. “I am very confident that Paco will bring some ideas, a new vision, and a new set of priorities to the organization.”
There were three finalists for the positions, Balderrama, a candidate from Texas, and a candidate from Fresno.
Balderrama’s starting salary will be $220,000 dollars a year.