But new guarantees could eliminate the problem.
“(The audit) shows a very significant decrease in offenses and we will continue to move forward,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.
Chief Balderrama says the new violations have all resulted in proper discipline, and he’s confident the right mechanisms are now in place to clean it up.
At Fresno City College Police Academy, Fresno Police Officers bring their work experience to the classroom.
“This is important because my police officers – who are among the best trained in the Valley – can go and share their expertise with young police officers,” Balderrama said. “So that helps everyone.”
Officers earn extra money, cadets learn, and the department maintains an open pipeline to recruit new recruits.
But in 2018, an informant reported that officers worked at the academy during times when they were also paid to do their regular work.
An internal audit followed.
“There was quite a bit of overtime and moonlighting that was against city policy,” said Miguel Arias, a member of Fresno City Council.
The 2019 audit confirmed violations, but determined that these were mostly record keeping issues, not necessarily double inferences.
Officers worked more than the maximum of 16 outside hours 156 times in three and a half years, for example.
The auditors recommended a series of safeguards, including new policies to document extra work and additional oversight by supervisors.
Now, a follow-up audit has revealed some of the same issues, but on a smaller scale.
During the six months under review, officers exceeded the maximum of 16 hours outside work on nine occasions.
One worked at the academy while on injury-on-duty leave.
And a few overlapping schedules reappeared.
Chief Balderrama was not yet in post when the audits took place, but he says the ministry has improved record keeping and safeguards have become even stronger.
“If they did an audit today, I would be very surprised if we found any violations, which shows progress,” he said.
Arias says the chief can make his wish on this new audit come true.
He’s on the city council audit committee and says it’s important to make sure recommendations are followed.
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