After years of having to cut employees the Fresno Police Department is finally hiring again. The department is adding officers, cadets and dispatchers.
"In the private sector when business goes down you lay off employees. In our business we were laying off employees and our business was going up," says Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
During the recession the Police Department went from having 849 officers to 698 officers. Since the department is hiring again there will be 717 officers.
"The frustration has been balancing the resources we have and reprioritizing," adds Dyer, "Not being able to respond to some of those calls we used to respond to is frustrating for us. It's even more frustrating for the citizens, for the victims out there who have not been able to get that level of service that they had grown accustomed to."
To help the department respond to calls it is also hiring cadets. Police cadets usually take police reports for things like car break-ins. At one time there were 77 police cadets, but the department didn't have any for years.
Now, Dyer says there are 15 cadets out on the streets and another 15 in training.
"There is good news and there's a bright future," says the Fresno Police Chief, "We're starting to ramp up the hiring again, but it is a long process and we're starting to play a little bit of catch up in order to do that."
When you call 911 for help sometimes there's a delay. With calls increasing the Police Chief says the department is also adding dispatchers.
"There's nothing more frustrating and scary as a citizen than to call 911 and to have a delayed response," says Dyer, "We're doing everything we can to address that."
Hiring and training all the new employees will take a little while, so everyone won't be in their new positions for a couple of months.