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Controversy over Fresno police chief grows, union board to meet

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, left, and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, right.
KVPR File Photo
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, left, and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, right.

FRESNO, Calif. — Controversy over an alleged off-duty relationship surrounding Fresno’s Police Chief Paco Balderrama is continuing.

Last week the city of Fresno alerted the public that an independent firm was investigating Balderrama over the relationship, which the city also said involved a non-city employee.

The nature of the allegation or relationship was not disclosed by the city. But officials learned of the relationship from Balderrama himself. He reportedly alerted that a possible allegation would be made against him.

The Board of Directors for the Fresno Police Officers’ Association — the union representing police officers — plans to meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

Union President Brandon Wiemiller told KVPR Monday he could not comment on the association's plans ahead of the meeting.

He said a public statement could be released following Wednesday's meeting, but was unclear. An email that reportedly went out Friday to the association's members, however, has been quoted in local news websites.

Wiemiller said he was not at liberty to share it.

Part of the email, as reported by other news outlets, states "The FPOA executive board has received countless communications from members at all ranks and throughout all areas of the department that they feel betrayed, and trust has been lost."

The abrupt statement regarding Balderrama by the city on Thursday has generated lots of speculation among the public. The city said Balderrama would remain police chief during the investigation.

Balderrama has served as Fresno police chief for over three years. The city's statement touted his efforts in rebuilding the ranks of the Fresno Police Department and lowering violent crime rates.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is KVPR's News Director. Prior to joining the station's news department in 2022, he was a reporter for PBS NewsHour and The Fresno Bee.