Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced his candidacy for mayor Wednesday at Manchester Center. Photo by Frank Lopez.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer formally announced his run for mayor of Fresno Wednesday at a Manchester Center news conference.
Dyer’s family and supporters — including former councilmember Steve Brandau and former mayor Alan Autry — were present, as well as protesters gathering to voice their concern over Dyer’s campaign.
Originally, the press conference was to be held outside, but it was moved inside after protesters arrived.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig began the press conference with a prayer before Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp took the podium to praise Dyer’s 18-year tenure as police chief and his commitment to the City of Fresno.
Autry, who hired Dyer as chief in 2001, said that he has not seen the current level of political and social division in the country since the Vietnam War, and that he commends anyone trying to enter the political arena now.
“Nothing is more humbling than people saying ‘I want you to be my mayor’,” Dyer told the crowd. “I have received that kind of encouragement for the past three weeks. I want to say thank you to Fresno for believing in me, for giving me that encouragement to take the next step.”
Dyer said that he was inspired to run after Mayor Lee Brand announced that he would not be running for reelection for a second term as mayor.
Dyer’s vision for Fresno as mayor would be to get rid of the “north” and “south” Fresno division and unify the city, bring in higher paying jobs and to invest more in the city’s infrastructure. His campaign tagline is “One Fresno.”
At one point the protestors’ chanting could be heard through the windows during the press conference. Dyer said that it is their right to protest, but believes they offer no solutions.
After Dyer’s speech, he took questions from the press and members of the audience.
To address concerns of him using police department time to campaign, Dyer said that he will only do such activities when he is off the clock and out of uniform.
Miguel Arias, councilmember for District 3, issued a statement thanking Dyer for his 40 years of service in the police department, but said he should immediately resign as police chief.
“Our City Business cannot be compromised by real or perceived inappropriate influence by a political candidate and police chief,” Arias said. “This city cannot risk further legal and financial liability given our history of excessive legal payouts.”
Another councilmember, Garry Bredefeld, rejected Arias’ call for Dyer to resign.
“I have complete faith in Chief Dyer to continue and complete his responsibilities as Fresno’s Police Chief and to do so until his retirement in October or if he decides to retire earlier,” Bredefeld said in a press release.
Dyer is scheduled to retire Oct. 16.