Political Notebook

More public meetings about finding Fresno’s next police chief set for May

Fresno residents who would like to provide feedback and participate in the process for the city’s search for a new police chief have a few opportunities to do that.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer is scheduled to retire Oct. 16 after working as Fresno’s top cop for nearly two decades.

“The selection of the next police chief may be the single most important decision we make in my service to the community as the mayor,” Mayor Lee Brand said in a statement. “This decision impacts everyone living in Fresno, and that’s why we are reaching out to the community to get as much input and information as we can to help us make the right choice. We will continue to be completely transparent in this process.”

The city has hired a search firm to help vet candidates, and Brand said the process will include “community engagement on a scale and magnitude never before seen in the Central Valley.”

Brand’s office this week launched an online survey in English, Spanish and Hmong. The survey asks what issues and challenges residents would like the new police chief to understand and address. It also asks residents what qualities the next chief should possess.

The survey will be available on the main page of the city’s website, and hard copies will be available for pickup or drop off at the front counter of the personnel department on the first floor of City Hall. The survey will be available until May 31.

Residents also can attend a number of different meetings to share their thoughts on the next police chief.

The city will host five community meetings, one in each policing district, hosted by community members to receive similar input. Those meetings are scheduled to begin April 23 and continue through May 9. The meetings will be moderated by community members with experience moderating public discussion.

Residents can also provide feedback at district meetings held by council members from April 22 and May 31.

Surveys will be available at meetings as well.

In June and July, candidates will go through panel interviews. In August, the city manager will interview finalists and extend a conditional offer of employment. That’s when a background check will be done and the new police chief’s start date will be determined.

The community meeting details are as follows:

  • 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 in the cafeteria of Gaston Middle School, 1100 E. Church Ave. The moderators will be Pastors D.J. Criner from Saint Rest Baptist Church and B.T. Lewis of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church.
  • 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 in the cafeteria of Fresno High School, 1839 N. Echo Ave. The moderator will be Dr. Jackie Ryle, a consultant and former Fresno City Clerk.
  • 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 in the cafeteria of Hoover High School, 5550 N. First St. The moderator will be Larry Powell, a pastor at Peoples Church and former Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.
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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.