Suggestions for improvement at the Fresno Police Department

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A 71 page report issued by the office of independent review describes suggestions for improvement at the Fresno Police Department including examining each unit and evaluating how officers are promoted. The mayor says changes will be implemented to build a better, stronger and more transparent police department.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin explained, "We're gonna move forward on an evaluation of the personnel policies in the department to make sure there are no gaps in a personnel policy that may result in another similar incident doesn't happen in the future."

The "similar incident" Ashley Swearengin is referring to is the arrest of Deputy Chief Keith Foster on federal drug charges. Police Chief Jerry Dyer says many of the suggestions listed in the report are positive.

Chief Dyer explained, "The recommendations are intended to make this organization better and to make sure that we don't have other incidents that occur in this organization that could bring embarrassment on the department."

The chief says everyday internal assessments, audits, and inspections are done. Every few years an outside agency also comes in to review procedures. For the past 10 years the department has received national honors and accreditation. These are a few details the chief feels are left out of the first quarter review. He also believes the so called 'safeguards" in the report aren't really foolproof.

Chief Dyer said, "Even with those detailed inspections of units. That's not going to impact or prevent an incident that occurred with Deputy Chief Keith Foster."

Dyer says Foster's recent charges should not overshadow the successes the entire department -- including not a single officer-involved shooting in nearly six months. Despite this, Mayor Swearengin admits she is getting more involved in the inner workings at the police department, for now.

The chief says some of the recommendations may also be prohibited by law under the peace officer bill of rights and other government codes. They may also violate some agreements with labor groups. The report does not address these concerns.

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