Local Election

Here’s what Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer must complete before running for mayor

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer plans to move into the city limits and meet with key people before he would launch a 2020 bid for mayor.

Dyer, 60, is retiring as Fresno police chief in October. After Mayor Lee Brand announced on Monday he won’t seek re-election, Dyer said he’s seriously considering running.

“My name has come up for the mayoral election several times over the last 11 years,” he said in an interview with The Bee. “Each time, I had to give something up in order to run for mayor. That was being police chief, something that I dearly love. I love protecting the people of Fresno. But now, that is no longer a privilege that I have effective October, nor will it be something I have to struggle with.”

Dyer put his Fresno County home up for sale this month and made plans months ago to move into the city to be closer to his family, he said. His home is in escrow.

Dyer has long been rumored as a candidate for the position. He sounded like a candidate Monday afternoon, two hours after Brand made his announcement. Developer Darius Assemi joked over the weekend at a fundraiser, calling the chief “Mayor Jerry Dyer.”

Dyer said Assemi is known to be comedic and pointed out that Assemi often supports multiple candidates during election season.

The police chief spoke about bringing unity to Fresno through public safety, job creation, economic prosperity and tackling issues such as blight and addiction.

“I think we’ve become far too divided, and it’s important that we unite with one vision, one Fresno,” he said. “…We sometimes position ourselves based on race, party affiliation, whether or not we live on the north end or the south end. What we need to do is set aside all of those things and become united as citizens of Fresno and people who love this city.”

He said he believes his experience as police chief – from dealing with litigation, managing 1,100 employees and a $180 million budget and being the “voice of calm” for the city during times of tragedy – has prepared him for the next step. During his time as chief he’s also built relationships with the media, business and faith communities, he said.

About the time Dyer released a statement saying he was strongly considering a mayoral run, Fresno City Council Member Luis Chavez also announced he will run for mayor. Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz also is running for mayor.

Dyer said he welcomes other candidates and is confident his friendship with Chavez will continue after the 2020 election.

“I’ve heard for many years that Fresno has incredible potential,” he said. “I think it’s time we realize that potential as a city.”

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.