Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and City Manager Wilma Quan announced Dec. 8 that Juan F. “Paco” Balderrama will be Fresno’s next Chief of Police at a virtual press conference held at Police Headquarters. Balderrama, a 21-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD), will become the first Hispanic Police Chief in Fresno’s history when he is sworn in on January 11, 2021. Current Chief of Police Andrew Hall will officially retire on January 15, 2021.
“It has been clear from the start of this process that the residents of Fresno want a chief who can make dramatic changes, build trust in the community, and improve public safety for everyone and I believe we have found that leader in Paco Balderrama,” said Mayor Brand. “We are thrilled to welcome Paco and his family to our great city and we know that he will meet the task of leading our police department with grace and humility.”
Chief Balderrama became the first Hispanic Deputy Police Chief in the history of the Oklahoma City Police Department in April 2019. During his career at OCPD, he held a number of assignments including patrol officer, field training officer, and Public Information Officer. Most recently, Chief Balderrama led the Special Operations Bureau which includes the Criminal Intelligence, Major Violators, the Violent Crime Apprehension Team, Youth Services and Emergency Services.
“The first thing you notice about Paco is his authenticity,” said City Manager Quan. “He’s honest and straightforward, and everyone involved in the selection was impressed with his genuine desire to embrace the challenges of 21st century policing. I am certain he will bring people together to create achievable goals that everyone can buy into.”
In 2000, Chief Balderrama was named “Rookie of the Year” after his first full year of service in the Oklahoma City Police Department. He was also awarded “2008 Outstanding Community Leader” by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was named one of the ‘12 Most Influential Hispanics in Oklahoma” by El Nacional newspaper in 2012.
His involvement in the Oklahoma City community includes serving as a past board member of the Latino Community Development Agency, the Wes Welker Foundation and the Oklahoma Police and Fire Athletic Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City’s Class IX and is a board member of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, the University of Central Oklahoma Criminal Justice Program Advisory Board, and Good Shepard Clinic.
Chief Balderrama has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the 269th Session of the FBI National Academy in 2017. He has been married to his wife, Kyla, for 11 years and has three children, Hayden (10), Jude (8), and Jenson (7).