Fresno police chief resigns following scandal over ‘inappropriate relationship’

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Fresno police chief resigns following scandal over ‘inappropriate relationship’

The chief of police for the city of Fresno officially resigned from his position on Tuesday following an investigation into allegations that he had an affair with an officer’s wife. 

Paco Balderrama, who served as the city’s top cop for three and a half years, informed city leadership in February that an allegation would likely be made against him related to an “inappropriate off-duty relationship he was involved in,” the city said in a statement.

He was placed on administrative leave on June 13, after the city launched an investigation into the alleged affair. The city said he was placed on leave due to “intense public scrutiny surrounding the administrative investigation.”

“This has been a very difficult time for the community, the police department and the families involved,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said in a statement. “It is my hope that with the resignation of Chief Balderrama we can move forward, and the police department can continue to focus on what it does best, keep people safe. I wish Paco and his family the best and thank him for his service to our community.”

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Fresno Chief of Police Paco Balderrama addressed his resignation at a press conference. (KMPH)

Fresno City Manager Georgeanne White said she could not get into full details of the investigation, but said allegations that Balderrama leveraged his position to undermine the officer’s career moves were not true. She said “evidence to the contrary was presented.”

“This does not excuse Chief Balderrama’s behavior as it relates to the inappropriate relationship, because as he has stated, those actions cannot be justified or defended and are below the standards that he holds for himself and that we hold for the Police Chief of our City,” White said.

In a statement issued by the city, Balderrama called serving as Fresno’s top cop the “privilege of a lifetime.”

“The people of Fresno are beautiful, diverse and very supportive of their police department. Even through my most difficult trials, you have been king, forgiving, and uplifting. Thank you for being there for me. The rewarding part of the job has not been the huge responsibility, job stress, or intense work. It has always been the people. I will miss both the Fresno community and every member of the Fresno Police Department. I have no doubt that this group of hard-working and compassionate police officers and professional staff will continue to thrive and do great things. This is the right time for me to step away and focus on my faith and family. I love you,” Baldramma said. 

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Fresno Police Chief at a conference

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama resigned from his position following an investigation into an inappropriate off-duty relationship. (KMPH)

Fox 26 KMPH reported that Balderrama had applied for the chief of police opening in Austin, Texas.

His name was found on a list published by The Austin American-Statesmen newspaper showing the names of the 32 candidates competing for the city’s top-ranking role in the police department.

It’s unknown when he applied for the position, but the city of Austin reportedly started taking applications back in May. That was prior to the news of Balderrama’s alleged affair being made public. 

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Paco Balderrama with his hand on the Bible

Paco Balderrama has served as the chief of police of Fresno for nearly four years. (KMPH)

Balderrama made history as the first Latino appointed to the role of chief of police for the city of Fresno. 

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His resignation will be effective July 25, according to the city. The city will now begin a national search for his replacement.

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