Fresno Police Corruption: How a Top Cop Went From Hero to Federal Prison

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Former Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster. (YouTube)

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The second-highest ranking officer in one of the largest police departments in the state went to federal prison last year, convicted of conspiring to deal heroin and marijuana.

It’s one of the biggest police corruption scandals in modern California history, and one you probably didn’t hear about if you live outside the Central Valley. And it wasn’t an isolated incident.

The Story of Police Chief Jerry Dyer

More than a dozen Fresno police officers have been arrested in recent years, including some high-profile corruption busts. All of this occurred under the command of one of the longest-serving and most powerful law enforcement figures in the state, Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

This special edition of the California Report Magazine tells the story of Keith Foster, a local hero who rose up the ranks only to end up in federal prison. It also delves into the legacy of Chief Dyer, who is scheduled to retire later this year. And it explores the century-old history of police corruption in Fresno — from the opium dens of the 1900s to today.

Reporter Robert Lewis brings us this story as part of a collaboration with Investigative Studios and the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.