Mayor Swearengin: Hiring of New Police Officers, Cadets, Dispatchers Will Boost City’s Public Safety Efforts

FRESNO – Mayor Ashley Swearengin today announced that the Police Department will hire 15 police recruits, 30 police cadets and four additional dispatchers, a move that will significantly increase the Department’s capacity to address public safety issues.

“The economic downtown has had a serious impact on our Police Department over the past several years,” Mayor Swearengin said. “The Department has done a remarkable job under incredibly challenging circumstances, but the reality is that the current staffing levels and response times must be improved. With the City’s financial situation stabilizing, our top priority is to improve staffing levels in the Department and to increase public safety services for our citizens.”

Mayor Swearengin said the hiring plan for the Police Department includes:

  • Hiring 15 police recruits to fill vacant police officer positions by Jan. 15. As further police officer vacancies occur, additional police recruits may be hired depending on the City’s overall financial condition;
  • Hiring 30 non-sworn police cadets to improve the handling of lower priority calls for service. The hiring will be done in two phases – 15 will be hired by Nov. 15, with the remaining 15 hired no later than Jan. 4, 2014. These cadets will handle calls such as vehicle burglary, auto theft, residential and commercial burglary, and other lower-level crimes. Their hiring will enhance the department’s response times for these types of calls and also free up police officers to handle more urgent calls for service;
  • Hiring four additional dispatcher positions to reduce “answer times” for emergency and non-emergency calls that come into the dispatch center.

In addition, the 11 Fresno police officers currently assigned to the Airports Department will transition back to the Police Department. The transition will occur between November 2013 and January 2014.

“I am grateful to the citizens of Fresno for their support and patience during these difficult economic times when services were significantly reduced,” Chief Jerry Dyer said. “I look forward to rebuilding this department and enhancing those service levels.”

The number of sworn officers now stands at 701, down from 849 in 2010, Mayor Swearengin said. Without these actions, the number of sworn officers could have fallen to 680 by June 30, 2014. In addition, the Police Department lost approximately 275 civilian positions, including police cadets, community service officers and dispatchers.

The additional positions can be funded with existing appropriations funded by City Council in the adopted Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget.

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