Fresno Police Have Remarkable 2014: Lower Officer Shootings, Public Complaints

Swearengin (Chris Carlson : Associated Press)
Chris Carlson : Associated Press

As the nation faced a wave of protests against police, Fresno’s Police Department saw a dramatic drop in the number of officer-involved shootings and use-of-force complaints in 2014, according to the city’s police auditor Richard Rasmussen this week.

Rasmussen’s fourth quarter of 2014 report found a 27% drop in officer-involved shootings, a 29% drop in complaints about excessive use-of-force and a 16% drop in overall complaints of a serious nature, when compared with 2013.

“To my knowledge, Fresno is the only city in America that has seen this level of success in the reduction of police incidents and complaints. Even more impressive is the fact that the numbers are improving for the right reasons,” Rasmussen said in a written statement reported by the Fresno Bee.

The report covered Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. and included a year-long review of complaints and officer-involved shootings, writes the Bee.

A great factor in the department’s improved statistics has been its strategy of resolving issues before they reach a level of complaint. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, also reportedly praised the department’s “pro-active” approach.

The report from Northern California’s Central Valley arrives one month after a report from the Los Angeles Police Department which revealed that crime rates in Los Angeles County were at the highest rate in 12 years. That spike was driven primarily by an increase in the number of reported aggravated assaults.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter: @AdelleNaz.