After months of community meetings and a nationwide search, city officials said today that the next man to lead Fresno's police department already works there. Protesters outside the press conference said the city’s efforts to include citizen input seem disingenuous.
Inside the City Hall Annex, Jerry Dyer’s successor as police chief was announced as Deputy Chief Andy Hall. He’s a veteran officer with more than 40 years in the department.
“If somebody had told me when I was 18 years old and applied for this job as police cadet, it was honestly before I started shaving, that I was going to end up as chief of police in the fifth largest city in California, I would have laughed,” Hall said. “But here I am.”
Hall didn’t apply for the position, and will retire in the spring of 2021. Mayor Lee Brand said of the few dozen candidates who did apply, no one was ideal as a long-term replacement, and the city now has more time to find a permanent chief.
“We’re restarting the process to find the best candidate to lead the Fresno Police Department, because this position is too important to settle for anything less,” Brand said.
About 10 protesters outside of the City Hall Annex said the decision was not made in good faith. Efrain Botello was with Fresno Barrios Unidos. He and other protesters weren’t allowed inside the press conference.
“From our understanding, we thought it was going to be a public event. It was supposed to be at City Hall, and then all of a sudden they changed it to City Hall Annex,” said Botello. “So, it shows that they were trying to exclude us this whole time because they knew we were going to show up.”
Councilmember Miguel Arias said in a statement that the decision to appoint a chief who didn’t apply “is a slap in the face to the public and city council.” Other youth-based organizations including Fresno Building Healthy Communities and Fresno Boys and Men of Color also expressed disappointment in the city’s decision.
Andy Hall will serve as acting chief from now until Dyer officially retires on October 16. Jerry Dyer is also running for mayor in 2020; however, Hall said he does not plan to endorse any candidates.