Fresno hopes to restore police auditor position

FRESNO, Calif.

In announcing a $1.3 million dollar settlement in the shooting of Steve Vargas by a Fresno Police Sergeant, Police Chief Jerry Dyer on January 5th reaffirmed his support for hiring someone to independently review police shootings. He said: "In my discussions with the City Manager and the Mayor they are committed to having an office of independent review in the city of Fresno and I continue to support that."

The office closed last June, when Aubrey resigned. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said there was no money for the office anyway, and said the office would be restored, when the city can afford it. She now thinks the money can soon be found. "We will do our best to find the funding and also to recruit someone who is very capable to fill the role, and if we dont have it done by the time the budget comes out in May we'll certainly include it in the budget this next year."

City Council Member Oliver Baines, who is a former Fresno Police Officer, believes the council will approve the position. "This community in Fresno has spoken loud and clear that they do desire to have a police auditor. We will find the money for it."

But community activist and frequent police critic Gloria Hernandez says any new Office of Independent Review must have more power, and more help. "But I also think the OIR gets an advisory committee to assist the person to make sure that all the work was done."

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