Balderrama: Affair with officer’s wife “wouldn’t make news” if I wasn’t chief.

Paco Balderrama spoke to reporters for the first time since he has been publicly accused of having an affair with an officer’s wife.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama asked for grace from the community while he faces a city investigation for an inappropriate relationship. 

As reported by The Sun on Monday, Balderrama conducted a two-plus year affair with the wife of one of his officers. 

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The big picture: Balderrama addressed reporters outside the Fresno City Council chambers on Wednesday during the city’s budget hearing. 

  • This is the first time he has spoken to the media since the city revealed the investigation last week. 
  • Balderrama told reporters that the city is not allowing him to specifically speak on the investigation. 

What Balderrama said: While he did not directly touch on the investigation, he said the statement he sent to the police officers – asking for their forgiveness – came from the heart because he wrote it himself. 

  • “I will tell you this. This is the most difficult time in my life, and in my family’s life. So I do ask for a little bit of grace. I do ask for a little bit of forgiveness.” 
  • Balderrama said he has never claimed to be perfect since he arrived in Fresno 3.5 years ago. 
  • He praised the police department for its work, saying his team has done an amazing job and he is extremely proud. 
  • “I’m also very proud of my family, and I can tell you that I owe them forgiveness and I’ve gotten it,” Balderrama said. “And I’ve asked for forgiveness from my police department and from the community through that statement.” 
  • Balderrama continued, “I am human. I am imperfect. I work extremely hard. I plan on continuing to lead this police department to even greater heights.” 
  • He thanked the community and police officers who have sent him hundreds of messages of support. 
  • Balderrama also asked reporters to not ask any salacious questions about his family. 
  • “My family’s not doing well. Aad I’m not doing well. But despite that, I will continue being the chief of one of the best police departments in America. I believe I have the support of the community, not because I think I do, but because they told me. Every day I get messages. Nobody’s perfect. And if any one of you is, please ask the first question or cast the first stone.” 
  • He said he and his family will get through this because God is great and he is a professional. 

Not worried about losing support: When asked if he is worried about losing support from his officers, Balderrama said he does not worry because he gets bad news all the time. 

  • “Go talk to the union president,” Balderrama said. “In 3.5 years there’s been two grievances filed that were both withdrawn. They were both withdrawn. I actually work very well with the union. Now are there people out there who would love to see me go and fail? Yeah, there’s people out there all over the community who would love to see me fail. But that’s not going to happen.” 

Wouldn’t be an issue if he wasn’t the chief: Balderrama told reporters that the investigation is only newsworthy because he is the police chief. 

  • “At the end of the day think about this: If I sold insurance, if I was a principal, if I was a director of another department, would this make news? No it wouldn’t,” Balderrama said. “But I am the police chief.” 
  • Balderrama finished his brief remarks telling a reporter to go ahead and cast stones even though the reporter is imperfect as well. 
  • “Thank you to everybody out there who’s praying for me,” Balderrama said. “Thank you to my police department. I’m so proud of them. And regardless of anything, I’m going to keep on doing my job until they tell me otherwise.” 

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