Fresno police chief discusses long-term solutions to gun violence, support for Sacramento PD chief

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Monday, April 4, 2022
Fresno police chief addresses Sacramento mass shooting tragedy
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says he immediately called Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester to offer his support after Sunday's mass shooting.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As law enforcement agencies continue their investigation into Sunday morning's mass shooting in downtown Sacramento, the nation grieves the lives lost to another senseless act of gun violence.

RELATED: Sacramento shooting: At least 2 shooters kill 6, wound 12 in mass shooting, police say

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama has collaborated with Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester on several occasions, including at a conference just last week.

He immediately called her to offer his support and assistance.

"Times are tough right now and we have to show solidarity and partnership in order to be successful. Loss of life is tragic and Sacramento isn't very far from here and we know some of the things that happened there can happen here as well," he said after the mass shooting on Sunday.

The stretch of downtown Sacramento where the shooting took place is packed with bars, restaurants and nightclubs and is only blocks away from where the Sacramento Kings play.

Chief Balderrama says he's discussing keeping a close eye on some of Fresno's larger venues with the mayor and city manager.

While his department works closely with promotors to provide adequate security at events, he says policing every event is unrealistic.

Chief Balderrama adds, "This is a very big city. You're talking 26,000 gang members compared to 850 police officers full force. We don't have the numbers as far as police officers so we have to use technology, we have to use intelligence to try to be proactive."

He adds Sunday morning's tragedy shows a solution to gun violence goes beyond prevention and intervention.

While gun control advocates call for stricter laws, Chief Balderrama says the state needs to focus on criminal control.

"In California we have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and still we see a lot of violent people that can get these guns regardless," Chief Balderrama says.

He says he wants to see legislation that supports policing efforts adding, "If you're a person that's proven to be a violent person in your community you shouldn't be able to walk out of the jail hours later or be released without any consequences."