Andrew Hall speaks at a press conference Friday morning announcing his appointment as interim chief of the Fresno Police Department. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
A new interim chief of the Fresno Police Department was announced at a morning press conference in the Fresno City Hall Annex today.
Andrew Hall, who has been deputy chief since October 2016, will be the temporary police chief for the next 15 months while city officials continue the search.
The press conference was originally scheduled to take place at city hall, but was moved to the old city hall annex at the last minute. Protesters stood outside the building, criticizing what they saw as a lack of transparency and consideration of community concerns in the search for the new police chief.
“That process became the most transparent public search for a police chief in Fresno’s history,” Mayor Lee Brand said. “We took your suggestions to heart, heard your voices, and posed those tough questions to candidates—you all made a big difference.”
There were a dozen applicants and eventually five finalists for the job, but City Manager Wilma Quan-Schecter said that none of the finalists were a good fit for the position at this time.
“The individuals who applied are all highly qualified candidates and will no doubt continue to be successful in their careers, and we thank them for their interest in the City of Fresno,” Shechter said. “I had great hope that this search would identify our next police chief, and it did perfectly — but not in the way that we expected to.”
Hall has worked in the Fresno Police Department for more than 40 years and will serve as interim chief until Spring 2021. The city will restart its search for a permanent replacement for Hall during his temporary stint as police chief.
Hall said that he didn’t apply for the role of police chief, but after not being able to find the right candidate for the job, he was asked to be the police chief, which he accepted.
“All I’m asking from everyone involved in the process and from the community is to give me an opportunity to prove to you that I am the right person for this job at this time and to allow me to gain your trust,” Hall said. “Although I did not apply for this position, I was asked to serve as the police chief while the city continues its search for its leader. Once the city and the community finds that person. I have committed to the mayor that I will assist with a smooth transition for our organization.”
City Council Member Miguel Arias released a statement shortly after the press conference, saying that the process wasn’t as transparent as is is being touted.
“Appointing a Chief that didn’t apply for the position, nor was interviewed by the
community panel, is a slap in the face to the public and City Council,” Arias said. All of us were promised ‘the most transparent and community driven process in the
City’s history.’ Instead we have a repeat of the good old boy hiring process.”
Dyer will be officially retiring as Police Chief this October.