Fresno Police Department Frequently Asked Questions
Fresno Police Department Home Page

How do I deal with a suspicious person?How do I deal with a theft? How do I deal with an animal that has been hurt or endangered?How can I reduce the chances of being a victim of vehicle burglary?What are the new laws governing driving while using my cell phone?How do I obtain a copy of a police report?Who can obtain a copy of a police report?Is there a fee for a copy of a police report?Can I request a police or accident report by mail?How do I find out if my car has been towed, repossessed or impounded?How can I get a release for my vehicle?How much will having my vehicle released cost?My vehicle was impounded for driving with a suspended driver's license. What happens now?How can I dispute a vehicle impoundment?Who do I call if my vehicle was repossessed?How do I find out if someone has been arrested?How do I find out if I have warrants for my arrest?How do I obtain a copy or review my local criminal record?How do I obtain a police clearance letter for immigration or visa purposes?Can I go on a "Ride Along" with Fresno Police?What is required of me in order to go on a Ride Along?Who do I contact about participating in the Ride Along program?
How do I deal with a suspicious person?  
1. Keep your distance.  Contacting a suspicious person may jeopardize your safety.
2. Be a good witness.  Take note of hair color, facial hair, height and weight. Remember,  clothing can easily be changed - often criminals will wear multiple layers of clothing so they can escape easily. 
3. Get vehicle descriptions and license plates if you can.  Do not jeopardize your safety to do so.
4. If it appears the subject is about to commit a crime, make it known to them that the y are being watched.  Do not approach the subject.
5. If someone comes to your door that you are not expecting or do not know, do not open the door.  Make contact through the door.  Have them provide you with their I.D. and tell them that they will have to make an appointment to see you.  Do not avoid answering the door.  Often times criminals will knock on a door to see if someone is home before they break into a residence.  Most thieves do not want to encounter a person while they are committing their crimes.  These people will usually ask for someone and then say they have the wrong address when you answer.
6.  Know your neighbors.  Have their phone numbers available.  If you see someone suspicious, call your neighbors so they are aware of the subject.
7.  If you believe that the person is involved in criminal activity, call the police.  Be prepared to give your address and the location where the suspect is standing.  If you do not know the address, describe the location and where it is in relation to your address.  For example "It's the blue house two houses south from my house."
8.  If you are not at home when you see a suspicious person, keep your distance.  This is especially true if you are on foot or alone at a location. 
9.  Call the police and describe what you saw.  Do this from a safe location. 
10.  If it appears the subject is committing a crime, make noise to get other people's attention.  Honk your horn or yell.  This will usually cause the person to run away. 

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How do I deal with a theft?   
Unfortunately, theft has affected almost everyone at one time or another. Each incident serves as a reminder that we need to make changes to prevent further incidents in the future. Most thefts are opportunistic in nature, and by making it a little more difficult for the theft to take place, like putting a bike lock on a bike when it is not in use, we can dramatically reduce thefts. There is also a common theme with a lot of victims of theft: the victims have no way of identifying their property. Very few people who call the police have the serial numbers or identification markings to the property that was taken. This often means the victim never regains possession of the property, and the suspect never has to answer for the theft. The good news is this problem is easily changed. Start by writing down all the serial numbers and identification markings. Place the list in a safe place or two - maybe a list at home, and e-mail yourself at work. Then began locking or putting away items that are easily visible and accessible, which will reduce the number of thefts. If you are a victim, you will have the proper serial numbers or identification markings to give the police. This allows officers to enter the serial and identification numbers into the National Automated Property System. If anyone is caught with the property it can be identified as being stolen and the culprit can be arrested. With the public’s help we can reduce thefts, recover more stolen property, and arrest more thieves. To report a theft, a person may call 621-7000, or go to Fresno.gov to complete  an online report if there is no information on suspects and the loss is less than $400.
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How do I deal with an animal that has been hurt or endangered?  
1.  All animals will attack or run when they feel threatened.
2.  If you see a loose dog or other animal, contact the owner if you know who they are. If you don’t know who owns the animal contact the Central California S.P.C.A at (559) 233-SPCA. They are trained to catch loose animals.
3.  Keep children inside.  Wait for someone to  catch the animal before going outside.
4.  Do not pick up or touch injured animals.  A bite from an animal may necessitate medical treatment for the injury and rabies.  This is especially true if the animal runs away before it can be caught and tested.
5.  If you know the animal and it is familiar with you, try to contain it to a fenced yard.  Avoid pulling on the animal.  If you injure it, it may bite you.
6.  If you encounter a large animal such as a cow or horse, try not to spook the animal.  Warn traffic of the loose animal if possible and contact the Fresno Police Department.

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How can I reduce the chances of being a victim of vehicle burglary?  
1. Do not leave valuables inside your vehicle.
2. Park in a well-lit area.
3. Get an alarm with a flashing LED light and shock sensor.  The light lets people know you have an alarm.  Shock sensors are designed to go off when the window is broken.  It is very common for thieves to break a window to remove property and never set off the car alarm.
4. Park on well-traveled paths.  Avoid parking in alleys or small dark streets.  Most parking lots have major roads near them; this allows your vehicle to be seen by people passing by. 
5. Park inside your garage. If this is not possible, get motion lights for your driveway. 
6. Do not leave garage door openers in vehicles left outside.  This could facilitate  intruders getting into your house.
7. If you have expensive stereo equipment, keep it out of sight.  Get a removable stereo or removable faceplate.
8. Be cautious about leaving items in a vehicle trunk.  Most trunks can be accessed from within  the vehicle.

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What are the new laws governing driving while using my cell phone?  
For all Frequently Asked Questions, and the answers, regarding driving while using your cell phone, Click Here
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How do I obtain a copy of a police report?  
Come to the Records Bureau Public Counter located at 2323 Mariposa Mall, Monday through Friday, 07:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

You will need to complete a request form, which states your interest in the police report. Please include the case number or detailed information to assist us in determining the correct case number. 

Your request may need to be submitted to the City Attorney for review.  This will delay approval; hoever, once approved we will send you the respective report via U.S.P.S.


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Who can obtain a copy of a police report?  
To obtain a copy of a traffic accident, you must be listed as the driver, passenger, or an authorized representative of the people listed in the report or someone filing a claim.

To obtain a copy of a property or person crime report, you must provide a case number or other information to assist in identifying the incident. The report may be released if it is not still under investigation or restricted.

If you are an arrested party on a police report and charges are filed by the Fresno County District Attorney's Office, the Deputy District Attorney will provide a copy of the police report to your attorney at the arraignment hearing. If you are not represented by an attorney, the Deputy District Attorney will provide a copy of the report to you at the arraignment hearing. Do not go to the District Attorney’s Office to request a copy of the police report.

If a juvenile is listed on the police report as a suspect, is arrested, or the activity may result in dependency procedures, you can only obtain a copy after a juvenile court order is obtained through the Fresno County Juvenile Court, located at 810 S. Tenth, Fresno (559) 455-5195.


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Is there a fee for a copy of a police report?  
Effective March 27, 2001, there will be no charge for accident, crimes, or documented event reports. EXCEPTION: If the police report is over 10 pages, there will be a charge of .20 cents per page, (which will include page #1, and all additional pages).

If applicable: Make your check or money order payable to the City of Fresno. We also accept most major credit cards when you come in person. NO CASH OR PERSONAL CHECK.


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Can I request a police or accident report by mail?  
Yes. You can request a copy of a report by sending a written request listing the following information: your name, case number, date and time occurred, what type of incident, and the need for the information. If the report is over 10 pages, there will be a charge of .20 cents a page, (which will include page #1 and all additional pages).

Please send your request, along with payment, if over 10 pages to: Fresno Police Department, Attention: Records Bureau, P. O. Box 1271, Fresno, CA 93715-1271.

As an added convenience, you may also obtain your accident report online at http://mycollisionreports.com .  Please note that for this online convenience, there is an associated fee that will be displayed appropriately at the time of the online request.


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How do I find out if my car has been towed, repossessed or impounded?  
Go to www.findmytow.com and enter the appropriate information.  If you do not have access to a computer you can call, 621-CITY Monday -- Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you do not know the license plate or VIN, please check your paperwork (such as the pink slip, vehicle repair receipts or insurance papers) that you may have


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How can I get a release for my vehicle?  
You can go online at, www.findmytow.com, or contact the tow company directly to inquire if your vehicle is available for release.

The registered owner is responsible for all charges placed on the vehicle by the tow company and the Fresno Police Department

CASH or major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard accepted (credit cards are only accepted from the registered or legal owner).

You may go directly to the tow company with proof of identity and registration documents.  It is highly recommended that you call the tow company before going to the tow yard to ensure there is someone at the yard.

The vehicle must be currently registered.

The vehicle will only be released to the licensed registered or legal owner.

If the registered owner does not have a valid driver's license he or she will need a State of California identification card, or another acceptable form of identification, and be accompanied by a valid, licensed driver.

With the registered owner's consent, a vehicle release can be issued to another licensed driver.

By default, only the driver listed on the vehicle release may obtain the vehicle from the tow yard.


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How much will having my vehicle released cost?  
Stored Vehicle -- No Administrative Fee:  The only fees charged will be by the tow company.  Go directly to the tow company listed.

To reclaim your vehicle and pay your fees, go directly to the tow company.  Administrative fees are the responsibiolity of the Registered Owner and are completely separate from the fees charged by the tow company. 

Fee Information:

Collision with Road Blockage ($60)

Arrested/Suspended Driver ($266)

Illegal Parker/Abandonded Vehicle ($116)

DUI Driver ($450)

Unlicensed Driver/Expired Registration ($189)


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My vehicle was impounded for driving with a suspended driver's license. What happens now?  
If you vehicle was impounded for 30 days, you may contact the Tow Coordinator at (559) 621-2543, within the first 10 days, for a hearing to release your vehicle prior to 30 days.

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for all storage fees.


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How can I dispute a vehicle impoundment?  
VEHICLE TOW HEARINGS

The vehicle owner is entitled to have a hearing with the Tow Hearing Officer.  To request a hearing call the Hearing Officer at (559) 621-2543 within 10 days of the tow.


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Who do I call if my vehicle was repossessed?  
You must contact the legal owner of the vehicle. Generally, this is the person or company to which you make your payments.
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How do I find out if someone has been arrested?  
Call the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 1-888-373-7011
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How do I find out if I have warrants for my arrest?  
Call the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 488-3993
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How do I obtain a copy or review my local criminal record?  
Download and print the attached request form.  Then, bring in person; or, send this in with a copy of a valid State issued identification card to the Records Bureau at 2323 Mariposa Mall, Fresno, CA  93715. Upon completion, you may come down in person; or, we will send this to the address on record of the identification card.  When in person, please have a current, valid identification, money order, or credit card. No cash or checks accepted.  The cost for this service is $30.00.
No one can obtain or review your local criminal record but you!

Download Form


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How do I obtain a police clearance letter for immigration or visa purposes?  
The Fresno Police Department does not provide fingerprinting for immigration or visa purposes.
You will need to contact another local law enforcement agency or a private company that provides such services.

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Can I go on a "Ride Along" with Fresno Police?  
In response to requests we receive for a variety of reasons--such as citizens wanting to understand how police respond to certain incidents, persons considering careers in law enforcement, or those who would simply like to see police work up-close--we at the Fresno Police Department have made it possible for you to ride along with a police officer during his or her tour of duty.

We hope that by offering such a program, we may improve the understanding and sense of cooperation between our officers and members of our community.


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What is required of me in order to go on a Ride Along?  
1) We must have you sign an accident waiver, which frees the department of liability in the event you are injured while riding along with an officer.

2) We will check for warrants, arrests and prior criminal history.

3) An Interview

If you are under 18 years of age, a parent/guardian must be with you during your interview and must sign the liability waiver.


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Who do I contact about participating in the Ride Along program?  
Please contact the Patrol Division, located in the City Hall Annex building. The phone number is: 559-621-2200.
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