Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Over the last few weeks, Valley Public Radio has aired a series of reports looking at how life in violent communities can affect the health of area residents, and how the lack of health care can contribute to some of that violence at times. But there’s another side of this story – the one of the police who patrol those streets.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Police Department is moving forward with a plan to purchase 300 new body cameras for officers. The city council approved the $2.5 million purchase today which also includes 400 TASER devices. The cameras are in addition to 100 purchased earlier this year after the city received an anonymous $500,000 donation. 

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.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at several issues surrounding a difficult topic, death and dying. We’ll learn about a movement to help spur conversations about end of life decisions, a new report on palliative care in California, and a new bill that would bring physician assisted suicide to the Golden State.

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A local police department is hoping community outreach can help prevent distrust of law enforcement in the wake of violence in Ferguson, Missouri. FM89’s Joe Moore reports.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he wants to improve communication and trust between his officers and young people. That’s why he announced a plan Wednesday to create a new youth advisory panel for the department.

Dyer: “We never want to be viewed as an occupying force, we want to be viewed as a department that cares about the people we’re serving.”

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Starting this year, law enforcement agencies are changing the way they report certain crimes to the FBI. Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains why this could lead to an increase in reported cases of rape.

The U.S. Department of Justice is now requiring that all law enforcement agencies use a new broader definition of rape when reporting crimes to the FBI. In the past, agencies defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.

Lt. Jeff Motoyasu with the Fresno Police Department says the new definition is much broader and isn’t gender specific.  

Fresno State

In this edition of Valley Public Radio’s commentary series The Moral Is Ida Jones, a professor of Business Law at Fresno State, argues that civil remedies may be the only recourse to reduce the number of police killings of young African American males when criminal indictments fail to do so.


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. 


Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno has reached an early contract agreement with the union representing Fresno police officers. If ratified by the members of the Fresno Police Officers Association, the deal would extend the current contract to 2017.

It would also include a two percent salary increase in 2015 and another in 2016. The city would pay 75 percent of employee health care costs, with any future increases shared equally between the city and the union. It would also increase the amount current employees pay for retiree pensions by two percent.