Federal grant boosts Fresno police staffing, adds district bike unit

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Saturday, April 29, 2023
Federal grant boosts Fresno police staffing, adds district bike unit
On Thursday, the Fresno Police Department was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to allow for 12 new full-time police officer positions.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Despite 24-hour private security and surveillance cameras -- in and around his shop-- Cali Blue Jeans Owner Adel Masswadi says keeping crime away from his shop has been a constant battle.

He adds, "A lot of people don't come to this area because of that."

The men's apparel store is going on its 20th year in the shopping center off of Kings Canyon and Winery, in Southeast Fresno. Learning a new District Bike Unit is coming to this area as well as the Tower District, El Dorado Park, and Fashion Fair has Masswadi reassured - saying "That will be a great idea the crime will go down maybe we'll get rid of some of the homelessness."

On Thursday, the Fresno Police Department was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to allow for 12 new full-time police officer positions.

The Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS hiring grant will put 12 bike officers onto the streets. This is in addition to the Bike Units that you've seen downtown or at various community events.

"The ideal model is to have designated bike officers in those areas, so they can get to know the community members, the business owners. They can basically know every nook and cranny in that area that they're patrolling," said Chief Paco Balderrama.

With the exception of domestic violence, total violent crime is down -12.7% year over year.

Murder: -60%

Rape: -12.9%

Robbery: -15.7%

Aggravated Assault: - 9.6%

Domestic Violence: +25.4%

Total Property Crimes are down -17.3%, however, Vehicle burglaries and theft are both up.

Commercial Burglary: -48%

Residential Burglary: -27.8%

Larceny: +2.4%

Vehicle Burglary: + 13.4%

Motor Vehicle Theft: -36.1%

The grant also brings the department to 900 officer positions.

" I want to be able to expand certain units and be more productive, Balderrama said. He adds, "The standard of excellence for the Fresno Police Department is raised, therefore the quality of service (is raised). Response times are going to be lower, and interaction with the public is going to be better.

Once filled, Balderrama says his department will be the only large city police department in the US to be fully staffed.