1360 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721
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Fresno DSA Latest News

July 2020 President's Message

Happy summer to you all! What a busy season it has been! Between the opening up of businesses to a softer shutdown, and everything in between. Right now, everything from professional to school sports is up in the air- and the fall semester of school is starting in a distance learning setting. Among all the changes of the pandemic- we are patrolling the streets, investigating crime, keeping the Superior and Civil Courts safe, processing evidence, dispatching calls, and ensuring the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office continue to run like a fine-tuned machine. This time of year, staffing means balancing summer vacations and ensuring we all get the time off we need to decompress and unwind. Downtime is important in the stressful world of police work, and I hope you are all enjoying some great memory making-despite the evolving world and constant changes.

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EOW - Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller


The Fresno DSA wishes to express it's sincerest condolences to the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department as well as the family, friends, and loved ones of Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller.

Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller was shot and killed on June 6, 2020 as he and other deputies investigated reports of a suspicious vehicle in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

He served with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office for 14 years, and is survived by his expectant wife and young child.

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Josh Lancaster EOW 5/29/03


On May 29, 2003, Deputy Sheriff Josh Lancaster was killed in the line of duty during a vehicle pursuit. A suspect was evading Sanger Police Officers when he crashed into Josh’s unmarked detective car. The crash happened in southeastern Fresno County - the area of Adams and Maple. The suspect’s fleeing car was traveling in excess of 90 miles an hour when it struck Josh’s unmarked patrol vehicle.  

The suspect’s girlfriend was a passenger in the car and died, along with the unborn child she was carrying. The suspect survived and was sentenced to State Prison.

At the time he was fatally injured, Josh had been working a night time burglary detail. That evening he along with other detectives, were searching for a suspect nicknamed the “DC Shoe” burglar. Josh was determined to be part of that team and apprehend this suspect.

Josh was a rising star in the Sheriff’s Office, and became a detective just a few years after he was hired. Josh came to FSO from the District Attorney’s Office a couple years before his death. Josh was diligent in his work, and loved to “catch a crook.” Many of those who worked around Josh will always remember his sense of humor, his drive for life, and just how great of a person he was. Josh was just a fun guy to be around.

Today, as co-workers, we keep Josh in our hearts and prayers. We keep Josh’s family in our thoughts as well. We are grateful for the memories we have of Josh, and the memories his family has shared with us about Josh.  

We miss Josh and will never forget the service he gave to the citizens of this County.
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Dennis Phelps EOW 5/20/02


On May 20, 2002, Deputy Sheriff Dennis Phelps was gunned down in eastern Fresno County during a vehicle stop on a suspicious vehicle/suspect in the area of Locan and Shepard. Prior to the deadly shooting, the suspect was alleged to have shot at a parking lot sweeper in the area of Herndon and Fowler. Dennis initiated the stop based on the BOLO at 2355 hours on May 19, 2002. Officers from Clovis PD and FSO found Dennis lying in the street near the vehicle he stopped, and his patrol car was gone.

The suspect, identified as Mark Volpa was able to evade authorities after gunning down Phelps and a multi-day manhunt began for him. Ultimately, he was located in Auberry, held up in a trailer near Jose Basin Road. The capture of Volpa ended after six days. Volpa exited a trailer he had been staying in, armed with Phelps' patrol AR-15 rifle - the gun he had stolen after killing Dennis. Volpa opened fire at SWAT Officers. Volpa died during a gun battle with deputies.

Phelps was born in the Midwest- in a town called Leon, Iowa. He later moved to the Central Valley and graduated from McLane High School in 1972. He began his career in the early 1980s, with the Kerman Police Department and then with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. In 1999, he returned to FSO as a reserve deputy. He wanted to change careers so he could spend more time with his family. 

Phelps became a full-time deputy on Oct. 30, 2000 and days before his death, completed his field training to become a patrol deputy.

Today we honor Dennis' memory and the sacrifice he made for citizens of Fresno County. Dennis died protecting the community he swore to protect from the evils within our society. Dennis’ life was sacrificed to protect many others.

We remember the family he left behind and the void they still have in their lives. Those who knew Dennis will always remember what a great man and friend he was to all of us.
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California Peace Officers' Memorial Day

In honor of California Peace Officers' Memorial Day, May 6, 2020, we pay tribute to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

We Will Never Forget

Fresno DSA's Fallen Officers

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National Peace Officers' Memorial Day

Today, May 15, 2020 - National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day we honor our deputies who have died in the line of duty.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented us from honoring our fallen deputies this year- their sacrifice has not been forgotten. Since we can’t remember them in public ceremonies this month- we found another way to honor their service and sacrifice.

We have shared their picture and name all across this country.

Attached you will see a memorial page recently printed in the American Police Beat publication. It’s the May 2020 edition, honoring Peace Officer Memorial Week. The magazine is circulated to nearly a million people with some tie to the law enforcement community.

The world is a little different this year- but one thing that remains the same is our promise-we will never forget.

Fresno DSA's Fallen Officers

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World's Finest Chocolate


Sweet gestures go a long way! Thankful this Thursday for our friends at World’s Finest Chocolate. They donated hundreds of chocolate bars to deputies and all of us on the front lines policing Fresno County during the COVID-19 crisis. It was their way of thanking local law enforcement officers during this pandemic. We sure appreciate the thoughtful treat! It made our day!! 


Candy bars have been placed in and around each work station for members for Fresno Deputy Sheriffs Association to pickup whenever they need a sweet treat.


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Passing of Officer Marylou Armer


Officer Marylou Armer passed away on March 31, 2020 after battling the COVID-19 virus while being infected on the job. Armer was one of four who first tested positive for the virus. She had served with the agency for 20 years and was 43 years old.

Police Chief Navarro said Armer “faithfully served our community” and was most recently assigned to the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Team.

Eight officers on the force have tested positive for COVID-19. The Santa Rosa Police Officer Mary Lou Armer Family Fund has been established and 100% of donation proceeds will go to Marylou’s family.

Please keep Marylou in your thoughts and prayers. Her family and her law enforcement family as well.

View Full Article Here

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please click on the attached link for information from the CDC regarding the COVID-19





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Coronavirus Briefing

Good afternoon, 


I am distributing the attached document on behalf of PORAC. 


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February 2020 President's Message

FDSA Members - 


Please see the attached PDF for February's Presidents Message. 



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11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

email all orders to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Joel Brian Wahlenmaier EOW 2/25/10

Joel Brian Wahlenmaier EOW 2/25/10

Today we honor fallen Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier who was gunned down during the service of a search warrant in the Fresno County town of Minkler, on February 25, 2010.

The Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association honors each of our fallen deputies who have been killed in the line of duty. Joel was a member of the Fresno County Search and Rescue team, OHV team member, property detective, homicide detective and a great friend and partner to many of us here.

This picture represents what Joel loved – the outdoors. Joel was a natural fit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains both on and off duty. Joel valued the times he was able to work on SAR and OHV which gave him the opportunity to work in the environment he loved.

Joel is survived by his wife Bev Wahlenmaier, daughter Amy, son Austin, parents, siblings, in-laws and many other extended family members who miss his presence daily.

Take the time today as we are at the Fresno Deputy Sheriffs Association to remember our friend Joel Wahlenmaier. Joel paid the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Fresno County.

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B2V Fundraiser



See the attached flyer for items and contact info



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Public Safety Wins Public Records Act Fight

Public Safety Wins Public Records Act Fight to Prevent
Disclosure of Retirement Status for CalPERS Pensions

A consortium of public safety unions (Cal Fire Local 2881, California Correctional Peace Officers' Association, California Professional Firefighters, and California Association of Highway Patrolmen) joined with CalPERS to fight a writ petition filed by Transparent California to force disclosure, under the California Public Records Act, of CalPERS retirees' pension designations as "service," "disability," or "industrial disability." The Court held a hearing on the writ petition on October 25, and on November 6, issued its opinion upholding CalPERS' refusal to disclose this information for its retirees. All along, we have believed that this information impermissibly infringes on individual retirees' right to privacy, and we argued that disclosure of the status of a retiree's pension is essentially equivalent to disclosure of the retiree's medical condition. The Court agreed, stating that whether a person is disabled is "private information concerning a person's medical and/or psychological profile" and that "disclosing which retirees are receiving disability retirement benefits will disclose private medical information." The Court ruled that a retiree's pension designation as "service," "disability," or "industrial disability" is exempt from disclosure because this private information meets the definition of one of the exemptions specifically referenced in the Act, for "[d]ata filed with [CalPERS] by any member, retired member, beneficiary or annuitant" and/or an "individual record."

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David Gordon Graves EOW 11/05/82


Today we honor a fallen Fresno County Deputy, Deputy David Gordon Graves who was killed in the line of duty - November 5, 1982. David was killed by a drunk driver at the intersection of Shaw and Dickenson in western Fresno County. 

Deputies like David Graves, although their lives taken far too early, remind us in law enforcement to never forget their sacrifices. Deputy Graves worked to protect the citizens of Fresno County and we will always be grateful for that. We honor Deputy Graves each day with a highway sign on State Route 41 near Friant Road. That spot was chosen specifically for David’s family, who travel to and from the Coarsegold area. That sign is a reminder to his family that David’s name will live on with the Fresno Sheriff’s Office and the Fresno Community. Memorials like these, up and down the State, honor families and provide a reminder to the community the sacrifice officers make on a daily basis.

David left behind his wife and two daughters. David also left behind several other family, friends and co-workers who will never forget this tragic night of November 5, 1982.

We will always honor him and we will never forget him. God Bless.

Thin Blue Line…..

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Rod Barron Lucas EOW 10/31/16

Rod Barron Lucas EOW 10/31/16

On this day, October 31st, 2019 - we pause to remember the life and legacy of Sergeant Rod Lucas.

Our friend and brother lost his life in a tragic accident at the Special Investigation Office. He died from a fatal gunshot wound.

Rod worked as a Fresno County Deputy Sheriff for over 20 years. He previously served in the same capacity in his hometown of Firebaugh. Rod was a proud member of that small town-but later left his mark as a well-respected and well known deputy in Fresno County.

Rod held a variety of assignments at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. They included patrol, narcotics, SWAT, and Search and Rescue. He was a real professional and a diverse cop.

During his spare time- he was dedicated to his family and also volunteered for various organizations. Rod did everything from coaching youth football to serving up breakfast burritos for those less fortunate during the holiday season. When his time or talent could be utilized- he never hesitated to jump in and lend a hand.

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SB-230 Signed Into Law - PORAC Press Release

SB-230 Signed Into Law - PORAC Press Release
"Governor Gavin Newsom today signed SB 230 (Caballero) into law- California's landmark bill to reduce the use of force. The comprehensive new policy will go further than any bill in the country to reduce the use of force and deliver better public safety outcomes." 

Click Here For Full Press Release: SB-230 Press-Release 9.12.19.pdf
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Jeffery Sean Isaac EOW 09-08-1997

Jeffery Sean Isaac EOW 09-08-1997

Today we honor a fallen Fresno County Sheriff Deputy Jeff Isaac who was killed in the line of duty, Sept 8, 1997 – a solo vehicle accident near the City of Reedley CA, and only minutes from where Jeff and his family lived.

To date we still don’t really know what happened the night of the vehicle accident which took Jeff’s life. Many of you hired with Jeff were working the night he was killed. The heartbreaking thing about it is Jeff was alive and talking at the crash site. Jeff died as a result of the crash at UMC Hospital. Jeff left behind a young family, along with loving parents and siblings who I know miss him deeply each day.

Jeff was such a great guy and was very well liked by the community he served. Jeff cared about the community he lived in. I saw this quality first hand on many occasions while working as a partner with Jeff back in my days as a 108 reserve. Jeff was stern and the criminals actually thanked him at times while in the backseat of a patrol car. Those of you who worked around Jeff remember that quality. We still talk about him today and miss him dearly.

Spencer and Chantelle, Jeff’s children, have grown up to be beautiful and successful adults. Jeff Isaac was an honorable man and it shows through his children as well as through his family. The Isaac family has been instrumental and an inspiration of how we keep someone’s memory alive within our agency. The startup of Central Cal COPS is attributed to Jeff’s father Leon Isaac – who has helped many families out during their darkest hours in life.

Take the time today to remember Jeffery Sean Isaac and pray for his family.

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Erik Jon Telen EOW 08-21-2001

Erik Jon Telen EOW 08-21-2001

Today we honor fallen Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Erik Jon Telen who was gunned down by a burglary suspect in the mountains of Fresno County (Dunlap, CA) on August 21, 2001.

The Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association will never forget the solemn day of August 21, 2001. This changed our deputies and shook this agency.

There is a stone monument that sits at the front door of the Telen Substation in Squaw Valley – a reminder to all of us past and present. Erik loved his family and loved being a deputy sheriff.

Erik is survived by his beautiful children. His son, Erik Jr, born October 1, 2001, will never know his father. Their kids are becoming wonderful additions to this community and we thank Shelly for the job you are doing. Shelly and her children stay in touch with us at the FDSA and continue to strive for excellence in their lives.

Take the time today, as we are at the Fresno Deputy Sheriffs Association, and remember our friend Erik Telen. Erik paid the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Fresno County.

Below are Erik’s children, Bethanie (20), Brooke (19) Erik Jr (17)

We will always honor him and we will never forget him. God Bless

View the memo here

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Though there have been many scares about what can happen to children or teenagers on the internet, adults should be safe as well. There is no limit to the amount of risk adults come in contact with such as sexual predators, criminals who are seeking out your personal information on social networking sites, buying habits, frequently used sites, and ...
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Crime Prevention

Simple Crime Prevention: Anyone can be a target of even the simplest of crimes. Here are some tips to keep you safe in your everyday life: -Always be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. Take time to observe what people are wearing and what they look like in case you have to describe it later to someone. -Do not leave any items in your...
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