Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer gives surprise DA endorsement

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer took the unusual step Friday of endorsing the challenger in the district attorney's race. (KFSN)
April 25, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer took the unusual step Friday of endorsing the challenger in the district attorney's race. He announced his support of Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp in her run against incumbent DA Elizabeth Egan.

Egan's campaign called its own press conference after the Dyer endorsement to reiterate her endorsement from Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. The Egan camp says Dyer's decision won't make any difference on Election Day, but our political analyst says they may be underestimating Dyer's popularity.

Standing by the Police Officers' Memorial, in the shadows of the Fresno County courthouse, Jerry Dyer announced his support for Smittcamp. He says 90 percent of his officers support her, and he thinks she can empower prosecutors working for her to clear up a recently created backlog in the courts.

"They need the latitude and they need the freedom to make decisions that would allow us to have a criminal justice system that does not get bogged down," Dyer said.

An hour later, and half a mile away, Margaret Mims reaffirmed an endorsement she gave Elizabeth Egan months ago. She touted crime reductions in Fresno County and the city of Fresno over the past few years and said Egan deserves credit.

"We have a crime fighting team that's winning," Mims said. "This is not the time to go soft on crime."

Egan's camp called its press conference after news of Dyer's endorsement leaked. ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says the dueling press conferences could negate each other.

"When you get two very popular law enforcement officials to endorse different candidates it may cancel each out," he said. "It may come down to who's more popular, Chief Dyer or Sheriff Mims."

Despite their efforts to counteract a boost from Dyer's endorsement, Egan's campaign managers said the police chief's support for Smittcamp won't move the dial on Election Day. But Capozzi says it's actually a very big boost.

"I think the chief's endorsement really gives Smittcamp's campaign credibility," he said. "It says something. Someone in that position, the chief of police of Fresno, saying 'I'm supporting this candidate' says something for that campaign."

The boost comes at a critical time in the campaign for both candidates. Absentee ballots for the June 3 election should be going out to voters very soon.


Load Comments