crime

Joe Moore, KVPR

With the implementation of Proposition 47 central valley law enforcement leaders warned about its potential to drive crime up. They argued that fewer people facing felonies gives people less chance to recover from addiction and change their life, while leaving them on the street to re-offend. But now even some in law enforcement are questioning if that is the case.

Valley Public Radio took a close look at the data from Fresno city and County to see if, six months into the experiment, the warnings are coming true.

After years of community complaints about the Fresno Police Department, the numbers of complaints and officer-involved shootings are trending down. It has been roughly six months since there was an officer involved shooting in the city. Both police and community activists say a shift in the national mood about law enforcement is driving the change but question whether the change will last.

Fresno Police used to average one officer involved shooting every month and log dozens of complaints of excessive force and racial profiling among other concerns.

Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Dealing Drugs

Mar 26, 2015
Fresno Police Department

One of Fresno's highest ranking law enforcement officers was arrested Thursday on drug charges. Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, marijuana and oxycodone.

Five other Fresno residents were also charged in the case, including two men the FBI believes are related to Foster. 

Foster has been placed on administrative leave by the department. The arrests are part of an on-going, year-long investigation by the FBI and ATF.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the arrest is totally unexpected...

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has approved a request by Police  Chief Jerry Dyer for funding to install gunshot detecting microphones in a three square mile section of the city.

The system, called ShotSpotter, uses the microphones to triangulate the location of gunshots so police can respond. 

Company CEO  Ralph Clark says the system greatly improves a department’s ability to respond to gunshots.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, a black unarmed teenager, by a white Ferguson police officer resulted in multiple violent protests in Middle America. The way police handled the situation with equipment like armored vehicles has left communities questioning the use of military grade weapons by local law enforcement. FM89’s Ezra David Romero climbs into one of these machines in an unsuspected Valley city. 

---

Kerry Klein

 

The Fresno Fire Department believes it is battling a serial arsonist.  At a budget hearing on Tuesday, Fresno Fire Department Chief Kerri Donis said the fire and police departments are investigating 21 fires that have occurred in the city since May.

Most of the fires occurred in vacant buildings in downtown Fresno.  In one building, a severed gas line appears to have been left in the “on” position.  Fire Department spokesman Koby Johns has confirmed that geographical and chronological factors appear to connect at least 4 of the fires.

Governor Brown Defends Prison Practices

Apr 9, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says reducing prison overcrowding continues to be a top priority. Brown talked with reporters Tuesday after speaking at the 25th Annual Crime Victims Right’s Rally at the state Capitol. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

A federal three-judge panel has given the Brown administration an additional two years to reduce prison overcrowding to court-mandated levels. The ruling was a victory for Brown who had factored the extra time into his proposed budget. But he says court intervention remains a burden.

In the world of sports,  controversies over logos aren't unusual. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians have long been the subject of protests from Native American groups. Even high school teams aren't immune from such issues. But closer to home there’s another sort of debate over the logo for the sports teams from Fresno State - the Bulldog. In this case the debate isn’t about alleged racism, it’s about violence, and a street gang that has appropriated the logo for its own use. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cattle rustling or crop raiding might seem like a relic of the Wild West, but in the San Joaquin Valley surrounding foothills, cattle theft is on the rise. So much so that it's inspired a new bill by a local legislator that passed the Senate earlier this week. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports on the Livestock Theft Prevention Act.

A bill that would beef up fines for stealing livestock passed through the Senate Tuesday with unanimous, bi-partisan support. The bill would establish a $5,000 fine for anyone convicted of livestock theft.

City of Fresno

Fresno Fire Department Chief Rob Brown was placed on administrative leave today by City Manager Mark Scott. The move comes hours after Brown was arrested by Fresno County sheriff's deputies after an alleged domestic violence incident at his Fresno home late Wednesday night. 

According to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Brown was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence and criminal threats. Jail logs indicate that Brown was released from the Fresno County Jail on bond early Thursday morning. 

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is taking hits both inside and outside the State Capitol as he faces a stinging federal court order to reduce California’s prison population - and impassioned calls to expand it.  Katie Orr has more from Sacramento on the events Tuesday that show the competing political and legal pressures surrounding the governor.

Governor's Brown's Sacramento Loft Broken Into

Apr 23, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says he had an unwelcome visitor at his Sacramento loft a couple of days ago when he and his wife weren’t home:

“A guy jumped – got in, got up to the roof, jumped down on the balcony and was trying to break in. and one of my neighbors called the police.  And he was arrested and I think he’s out on his own recognizance,” says Brown.

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the dangers of crime this holiday season, talk about how holiday shopping is boosting the sales of local Valley merchants, and profile the ImagineU Children's Museum in Visalia. 

Valley Edition for December 20, 2011:

This week on Valley Edition, we feature an in-depth interview with newly un-retired Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. We talk talk about the Fresno Grand Opera's upcoming season.

On this Valley Edition, we look at the big problems facing the small Kern County city of Maricopa, we examine the controversial issue of racial profiling, and find out about an upcoming soul food festival at Fresno's African American Historical and Cultural Museum.