Search for Fresno’s next police chief will have lots of community input

April 05 2021 05:30 pm

Members of city council got a preliminary outline of how they’ll replace Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. Dyer announced he’ll be retiring this fall after 20 years as the city’s top cop.

Jeffrey Cardell, the city’s director of personnel services, spent most of his time Thursday assuring Fresno City Council.

“You have my assurance that I’ll be working with that recruiter very closely,” Cardell said.

That recruiter is Teri Black Recruiting, it’s a firm the city has used before — most recently to hire it’s current director of development. The firm will be conducting a national search to fill Dyer’s shoes.

By the proposed timeline in Cardell’s presentation, candidates will be finalized by August.

“I hope by the time we finish this process in the fall, that we have a really outstanding candidate that we’re all going to rally around. Also, hopefully have a consensus this is the best candidate to lead our police force forward,” said Mayor Lee Brand.

Before August, though, there will be a series of community meetings by policing district. The candidates will also undergo community interview panels.

Who will be sitting on those panels is yet to be determined, according to Cardell, but recommendations from Fresno City Council members will be considered.

“It’s really important that the [new] police chief, before they begin, have some level of relationship development with our local community,” said District 3 Councilman Miguel Arias. “In order to do that you need to have a public process.”

 Arias — who has been critical of Dyer in the past — also stressed the importance of diversity in the candidate pool. Dyer agrees with Arias, going further to say candidates need to understand the diversity of Fresno to be successful.

Dyer also said he prefers his successor be an internal hire.

“I always believe that internal candidates ultimately serve a community much better than an external candidate,” he said.

A community survey on the police chief search will be released next Thursday, April 11. It will be available online on the city’s website and available in hard copy at Fresno City Hall.

The survey will also be translated to other languages.

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