Drew M. Bessinger
As a 32 year Clovis resident, U.S. Army veteran and a life-long public servant, I am seeking your vote on March 7th for Clovis City Council. My service to our nation and this community spans 5 decades. I enlisted in the United States Army in 1975, at the age of 18, and served our nation for 4 years in uniform as a Military Police Officer. I was Honorably Discharged in 1979, and then began a journey with Federal, State and City law enforcement agencies from the rank of police officer to police chief. I am a graduate of Fresno State with a BA in Public Administration, and the Sherman Block Leadership Institute.
I served the residents of Clovis as a Police Officer for 22 years, and retired as a Captain in 2009. I then served as a Clovis Personnel Commissioner for over 5 years until 2016, when I resigned to seek office. During my years with the Clovis Police Department, I wore many “hats” and performed a variety of duties. I served as a SWAT Team Leader, Patrol Watch Commander, Internal Affairs Sergeant, and later oversaw the internal affairs function of the department as a Captain. As a Captain, I supervised over 90 employees and was responsible for a large portion of the department’s 22 million budget. I was accountable for many functions of the agency, including Communications, Youth Services, Records, and Animal Services. In addition to Internal Affairs, I also oversaw all disciplinary review boards and audit functions of State and Federal grants and evidence. I authored several Clovis Municipal Codes that addressed community and departmental problems, and served on the Friends of the Clovis Animal Adoption Center board of directors, the group that created the Miss Winkles Center.
I have been a police academy instructor at the State Center Regional Police Academy for over 20 years, where I instruct on Community Policing and Juvenile Law. I wrote a nationally published article in 1994 that featured using the eviction process to remove drug dealers and gang members from rental housing. I teach this concept to young Police Cadets.
In my recent roles as the interim Chief of Police for both the Kingsburg and Parlier Police Departments, I successfully dealt with difficult leadership, fiscal and management issues and put these agencies back on the right path. I supervised the overhaul of both animal shelters to ensure the humane treatment of the animals housed there. In 2015, I was sought out by Sheriff Margaret Mims and the Parlier City Manager to take over the Parlier Police Department, which was in a leadership crisis and in need of a steady hand and innovative leadership. I dealt with a host of difficult internal and external issues.
I worked closely with the Kingsburg Unified School District to address and remedy issues involving truancy. Dealing with truancy is a passion of mine. If elected, I would like to seek a partnership with the Clovis Unified School District to better address this issue. Over 80% of people sitting in prison today do NOT have a high school diploma … keeping them in school could keep them out of jail and improve everyone’s life!
On a personal note, I became a single father of my 2 sons in 1984, when they were 4 years old and 17 months old. I was court awarded both primary custody and child support, which is unusual even by today’s standards. My sons, Derek 37 and Chris 34, are Clovis High graduates and were part of Valley Football Championship teams. While I worked shift work as a law enforcement officer, I went to school part-time on the GI Bill to further my education. I am truly fortunate to be married to Yvonne Avila-Bessinger, a 55 year Clovis resident, who I met in 1993 while investigating a financial crime at a local bank. Yvonne is a 1976 graduate of Clovis High School. Yvonne’s parents, Jess and Adela, moved to Clovis in 1960 so that they could raise their daughters here. Adela still lives in the same home 57 years later. Yvonne is now retired, and is a member of the Clovis Community Hospital Guild and a volunteer.
Our city is facing some immediate internal leadership challenges, and the continued issues surrounding growth, crime, finances and neighborhood and commercial district blight. It is important to elect someone who is committed to public service, experienced with municipal finance and budgets, and who possesses the problem solving and proven leadership skills needed to deal with the issues we face as a community. I am honored to have received the endorsement of numerous Public Safety leaders, Community leaders, and businesses, which include:
- Sheriff Margaret Mims
- Former Sheriff Steve Magarian
- Supervisors Nathan Magsig and Sal Quintero
- Clovis Councilmember Jose Flores
- Former Clovis Police Chiefs Gerald Galvin, Joseph Maskovich, Janet Davis and Bob Keyes
- Former Clovis Fire Chiefs Mark Aston and Lee Kraft
- Plus a host of other police chiefs, retired public officials and other listed in the “Endorsements” section of my webpage.
You can also check out my Facebook page @drew4clovis17. Have a question for me? Email me at Drew4clovis2017@aol.com.
I am a life long public servant, and I want to continue my service to you as your next Clovis City Councilmember. I would be honored to have your vote on March 7th.