Fresno · Highlight

Fresno unveils police reform panel with lofty goals of overhaul

The City of Fresno revealed the members of the newly-formed Commission on Police Reform on Friday. 

The commission will hold private meetings to discuss possible policy recommendations to give to the Fresno City Council for reforming police procedure and will also conduct meetings with the public to solicit ideas and information from the community. 

“This is a transformational time in our history, and we have the opportunity of a lifetime to address long-standing issues of racial injustice and meaningful police reform,” said Mayor Lee Brand. 

Commission members include pastors, educators, law enforcement and lawyers, among various other positions throughout the Fresno community. 

Former City Councilman and former Fresno Police officer Oliver Baines III is the committee chair. 

“I can tell you that we will be taking a comprehensive look at policing in Fresno,” Baines said. “We will be examining the philosophies of the department as it is now and measuring those philosophies along some of the best police practices that occur in the country. 

“There’s no reason why this one cannot produce what could be the best policing agency in all of America, and I am committed to that.” 

Mayor-elect and former Fresno Chief of Police Jerry Dyer is confident that the commission will come together to recommend policy to the city council that will make Fresno a better place. 

“The commission has an opportunity, I believe, to do something that is very very significant and meaningful in our community, something that is going to be with us for decades,” Dyer said. 

“As a former police chief, and the future Mayor of this city, it’s important for those who are on this commission to know that I fully support your efforts and the recommendations and findings that you’re going to bring forth to us as a city. I am supportive of the creation, and I look forward to being able to have the opportunity to review those recommendations.” 

Dyer said that police chiefs and cities around the country, including Fresno, are hearing the need for a different style of policing and changes to the criminal justice system. 

“We have a unique opportunity in Fresno and across this country to recreate policing as we know it today – to develop a new model, a new style, a new philosophy of policing in Frseno as determined by our community members and those who live in our residence,” Dyer said. “It is important for us to hear their voices, important for members of this commission to hear their voice.” 

Council President Miguel Arias said the role of the Council will be to support the commission with whatever is needed, and the role of the mayor will be to fully implement some of the recommendations from the commission. 

The commission will have 90 days to return to the Council with recommendations, Arias said, which will give Fresno officials time to adjust the budget and can help the process of hiring a new police chief. 

Fresno Building Healthy Communities Executive Director Sandra Celedon is among the members of the newly-formed commission.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent riots, she notably retweeted a video of a police precinct in Minneapolis on fire and wrote: “Burn it down. #blacklivesmatter No justice, no peace. Enough is enough.”

Here’s the roster of Police Reform Commissioners

Oliver Baines, Chair

D’Anguelique Jackson – Fresno State NAACP, President

Sandra Celedon, Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Executive Director

Greg Garner, Retired Chief of Police, City of Selma

Mariah Thompson, National Lawyers Guild

Todd Frazier, Fresno Police Officers Association, President

Aaron Foster, Faith in the Valley

Ron Manning, City of Fresno Police Department, Sergeant

Bob Mitchell, Community Leader

Ashley Rojas, Fresno Barrios Unidos, Executive Director

Michael S. Reid JD, MBA, Deputy Chief, City of Fresno Police Department

Luisa Medina, Community Member

Scott Baly, Fresno County Public Defender’s Office 

Angie Isaak, Retired City of Fresno Police Officer

Dr. Joseph Jones, Fresno Pacific University, President 

Deep Singh, Jakara Movement

Efrain Botello, Boys and Men of Color 

Mark Salazar, City of Fresno Police Department, Captain

Brian King, Fresno EOC Street Saints

Annalisa Perea, State Center Community College, Vice President

Dr. James Pitts, Fresno State Department of Criminology, Professor

Gloria Hernandez, Community Advocate

Mai Thao, Civic Engagement Director, Hmong Innovating Politics

Grisanti Valencia, Youth Organize California

Pastor DJ Criner, Saint Rest Baptist Church

Pastor BT Lewis, Rising Star Church 

Keisha Thomas, Fresno Unified School District, President
Veva Islas, Fresno Unified School District Trustee

Marcel Woodruff, Faith in the Valley

Phil Cooley, Deputy Chief, City of Fresno Police Department

Adrian Jones, Fresno Housing Authority, Chair

Brandon Dixon-James, Financial Advisor

Rev. Simon Biasell, Woven Community, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Rod Wade Jr., United Fresno

John Leal, State Center Community College District, President

Gail Gaston, Community Advocate

Robert H. Oliver, Retired Judge

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.