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Fresno Police Reform Team Starts Work That Could Last a Year



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A week after the conviction of a Minneapolis police officer for the murder of George Floyd, the Fresno Police Reform Implementation Team got to work.

The eight-member team, led by former councilman — and chairman of last year’s committee — Oliver Baines, met for the first time Tuesday.

Baines was sporting a huge bandage on the left side of his face after being a victim of an assault last week. He talked about the purpose of the implementation team during the public Zoom meeting.

“We are thinking about this in a very mechanical sense, how to do something, not if to do something,” Baines said. “Our role is very, very narrow. We have 31 recommendations that we want to work with.”

The remainder of the reform committee’s 73 recommendations can be implemented by the mayor, council, or police department.

Police Chief Reviewing Use of Force Guidelines

Police Chief Paco Balderrama said he has a department advisory staff to act on recommendations. He is actively reviewing eight policies — including the use of force.

“We have to take it slow, and we have to get it right,” Balderrama said.

Only one member, D’Aungillique Jackson, was absent. Baines still acknowledged her role in bringing the reform conversation to the table. Last year, Jackson — the president of the Fresno State chapter of the NAACP — organized a 3,000-person strong protest after the death of George Floyd.

“That was a moment of tremendous pride for many of us in the city, seeing as how we saw a lot of the unrest around the country and that our community came together and had what I thought was just a model of peaceful demonstrations,” Baines said.

How Best to Handle Mental Health Calls

As part of the meeting, Baines created smaller working groups to concentrate on certain recommendations. He said the strategy worked well with last year’s 39-member reform commission. Baines talked about freeing police from being the first-responders on mental health calls.

“The work will be very tough. This is probably going to be a much heavier lift than we think,” Baines said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer said there are plans in place to reduce contact between police and homeless people.

Baines estimates it could take a year to implement.

The team will meet again in a month to update the progress made within the smaller working groups.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email