Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer plans to add more police officers to department in 2022

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022
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In 2022, Jerry Dyer says his mission is to improve safety across the city.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer is now entering his second year in office, with plans to tackle some of the city's most important challenges in 2022.

The former police chief says his agenda includes reducing crime.

In the two years since Dyer retired as police chief, gun violence has exploded in Fresno. The mayor says he wants to reverse that trend by adding officers to the department.

He also spoke about the plans to prevent public safety issues when the city's first pot shops are set to open this year.

In his first year in office, Mayor Dyer worked to carry out his vision of improving Fresno's curb appeal while addressing concerns about homelessness.

RELATED: Jerry Dyer reflects on 1st year as Fresno mayor

In 2022, Dyer says his mission is to improve safety across the city.

Since 2019, Fresno has seen a 64% increase in homicides and a 20% jump in violent crimes.

"2022 is going to be very focused on building our police department. Currently, we're at 850 officers. It is my goal to build to 900 police officers by the end of 2022," said Dyer.

Dyer says the city will prioritize budget spending in 2022 to pay for additional police department resources.

After hiring Police Chief Paco Balderrama last January, Dyer made a conscious effort to take a step back from law enforcement initially.

"I did not want to be seen as a police chief trying to be the mayor, I wanted to be seen as mayor who happened to be the police chief. For me to do that, there had to be a certain degree of separation," Dyer said.

Dyer's renewed focus on reducing crime comes as pot shops are set to open in Fresno, years after they became legal in California.

The city recently approved 21 cannabis dispensaries to operate and sell marijuana.

"There are mechanisms in place those businesses are safe, as par to the conditional use process. They all have to comply with certain conditions that ensure the safety of their customers and prevent any type of crime that occurs there that might be impactful for that neighborhood," Dyer said.

The city anticipates a windfall of more than $10 million in additional yearly revenue with the opening of those shops.

"I think you'll start to see many of the businesses open towards mid-2022, maybe some before that, but I think a majority will be the latter half of '22." the mayor said.

Dyer is also focusing on affordable housing and continuing to curb homelessness after rents rose 23% from 2020 to 2021.

"I believe it's going to take us four years in the City of Fresno to when we look around this city we're going to say where did the homeless go," he said.

Asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the city, Dyer said about 70% of all city employees are fully vaccinated. He has no plans to issue any sort of mandate at this time.