Rumors about the chief's possible retirement have been circulating around Downtown Fresno for months. Tuesday morning, he confirmed the speculation. He says after many long discussions with his family, he is ready to move on and start a new chapter.
Even before he made it to the podium, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer fought back tears. "This is you can tell, a very emotional moment for me because I love the city of Fresno and I love the Fresno Police Department."
Jerry Dyer was promoted to chief of police in 2001. And soon became one of the most well-known public figures in the Central Valley. After 32 years with the Fresno Police Department, Dyer is retiring.
Dyer said, "In fact, I'd actually planned on announcing my intent to retire a couple of months ago, but the timing didn't seem right due the ongoing budget process, which you know was finalized on Friday."
His announcement comes at a time when Dyer is facing stressful challenges as top cop. The city is facing double digit increases in some crimes, including auto theft. Just last week the city re-gained the title of auto theft capitol of the nation. The chief is also facing a lawsuit from two of his deputy chiefs, Bob Nevarez and Sharon Shaffer. Both are suing him based on accusations he created a hostile work environment. Despite the pressure and criticism, Dyer says he's tried to maintain his focus. He leaves with a sense of gratefulness for one simple fact.
"The proudest accomplishment I have as a police chief is that as I stand before you today, I have never lost a police officer in line of duty," said Dyer. "That has always been my number one goal, my driving force behind my leadership in ensuring the safety of my officers and employees."
Mayor Ashley Swearengin even became emotional as she thanked Dyer for his service. The mayor also recognized his countless achievements, including success fighting gangs and graffiti. "I want to congratulate you on an incredible job that you have done. You have provided exemplary leadership of the Fresno Police Department."
The chief says he never felt like the title was one he deserved, but he never took the position for granted and gave it his all. "I've been truly blessed of god, to be able to serve in the Fresno Police Department to be able to serve among some of the bravest men and women alive"
Dyer will stay on as interim chief until a new police chief is named. He will also be helping city staff interview and select his successor.
Dyer says the timing is right financially. By retiring before July 1st, the chief will earn a fixed interest rate on part of his retirement savings.