Fresno City Council discusses budget as city is having a tough time keeping police officers

EMBED </>More Videos

The new proposed city budget calls for adding 21 more officers to the city's force. On paper that brings the number to 824-- the highest it?s been in years. (KFSN)

The new proposed city budget calls for adding 21 more officers to the city's force. On paper that brings the number to 824-- the highest it's been in years. But according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, if you deduct the 15 cadets in training, and the number of unfilled positions, the actual number of officers on the street is significantly lower.

"Effective today we are at 762, yesterday we were at 765. Three officers left yesterday."

Dyer said some officers retire, leave for medical or family reasons, or better jobs with better working conditions.

"The first thing we have to do is stop the attrition or lower the attrition rate. That's what we are trying to do. A big part of that is having a contract in place in giving them a feeling their future is going to be taken care of."

On hearing that Council Member Garry Bredefeld said the city needs to do better.

"I mean it's great we can have 824 positions, we could have 924 positions, but if they are unfunded we send a message out we are adding police officers when in reality we are not because we can't even keep what we have."

City Manager Bruce Rudd bristled at Bredefeld's comments, noting the city is $175-million, 30 million higher than just three years ago.

"I appreciate where you are coming from Council Member, but don't for a minute think this administration or the previous administration did not put public safety at the front of everything we do."

Bredefeld said he meant the City Council must do more to boost the department. Dyer noted despite the declining number of officers, overall crime is down, with the exception of the city's murder rate, which is up a whopping 72-percent-- mostly due to gang activity.

"Gang shootings are up in our city and we know that," said Dyer.

In addition to the police departments budget, which is up nearly four-percent from last year, the fire departments $70-million dollar budget was presented, it is up slightly over last year.

The $24-million budget for Parks, Recreation, and Community Services was also discussed. The proposed budget cuts it down nearly nine-percent. But the council will be offering changes to the Mayor's proposed budget in the coming weeks.

Related Topics:
societybudgetfresnoFresno City Councilfresno police departmentFresno - Downtown
(Copyright ©2017 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments