Fresno receives major grant funding to beef up police department, fight retail theft

Organized retail theft has slammed California in recent years. New grant funding from the state aims to give agencies the tools to crack down on these crimes.

Fresno has received millions of dollars in grant funding from the state that will allow the city to add 25 officers to the Fresno Police Department to help combat retail theft. 

City officials announced the funding Tuesday, and next week the city council will vote on a resolution to accept the grant. 


The big picture: Fresno County law enforcement agencies will receive close to $24 million in total from the Board of State and Community Corrections. 

  • The Fresno Police Department will receive the majority of the funding at $15.6 million. 
  • The remaining grant funding will be spilt between the Clovis Police Department, the Fresno County Probation Department, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. 
  • In total, the Board of State and Community Corrections is dishing out around $270 million to 55 local law enforcement agencies across the state. That includes 34 police departments, seven sheriffs’ departments, one probation department and 12 district attorney offices. 

Go deeper: Once the grants are disbursed on Oct. 1, the money will be used to create fully staffed retail theft investigative units, create new task forces, increase cooperation with businesses and the community, target criminals in blitz operations and crack down on vehicle and catalytic converter theft. 

  • The funding will allow the Fresno Police Department to add 25 sworn officers and two police support services technicians. 
  • Funding will also be used for vehicles, office and operational equipment and public awareness campaign material against organized retail theft. 
  • Specifically, the Fresno Metropolitan Area Organized Retail Task Force has a goal of reducing organized retail theft by 15 percent each year for the three-year life of the grant. 
  • The task force also aims to reduce auto and catalytic converter thefts by 15 percent each year and engage retailers with the Merchant Shoplift Program. 

What they’re saying: “This money will be used to pay for additional police officers, equipment and technology in partnership with local businesses to drive theft down in our community,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama. “This is a huge win for our city and an investment in the growth of our agency.” 

  • Mayer Jerry Dyer added, “IT’s heartbreaking to see people pour their heart and soul into a small business, only to see thieves take that away. These business owners have been patient long enough, and these funds give us the ability to take action. I’m grateful to the governor and the state for their continued investment in Fresno.”
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