Clovis Police Chief Honored at Dr. King Community Awards Ceremony

Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming stands with Summer Gaston-Gehris who presented him with the 2023 Public Service Award. Fleming, was selected for the award by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Committee. (Photo JT Gomez, Clovis Roundup)

On Friday January 13th, Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming was recognized by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Committee for his efforts in public service.

Officially recognized with the 2023 Public Service Award, Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming was praised for his efforts alongside other members of the Central Valley.

Fleming was acknowledged for “his commitment, effort, and dedication to the recruitment of a diverse workforce for the Clovis Police Department.”

This is in reference to Flemings’ “Diversity Strategic Plan” which he introduced to the department in 2019.

This plan was in an effort to recruit a workforce that “includes a diverse group of people who come from a wide range of cultures, speak different languages, and have a wide range of skills.”

Summer Gaston-Gehris, committee member and high school classmate of Chief Fleming, introduced him to the group that had gathered in Fresno City Hall, with some thoughts of her own as well as further facts about his police career.

“I’m so proud of his achievements, I’ve been able to watch him from afar and now I’m able to honor him with an award…I just wanted to personally say I’m very proud and honored to be doing this.”

Gaston-Gehris then went on, “Chief Fleming’s efforts are working. In the past two years, fifty-six percent of the police officers who were hired were from an underrepresented ethnic, racial group or cultural group.”

Chief Fleming himself commented on what effect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on his life and tried to relate that to his position now.

“As far as Dr. King in my life, he’s truly had an impact on me growing up. Dr. King passed long before I was born, but I can say he’s had an impact on me…I grew up with a very diverse group of friends and I’ve maintained those friends throughout my life.”

Fleming went on to speak about the City of Clovis in whole, saying, “And I believe in our city, I think sometimes people perceive Clovis as a certain way or people look through a lens and see us through a certain way, and maybe I did when I attended Cooper Middle School…But now that I’m there, I see it from the Clovis side and I can tell you we’re welcoming, we want you to be here, we want you to come and work for our city for our department.”

Other honorees included retired Fresno County Superintendent Jim Yovino with the 2023 Educational Leadership Award and Mrs. Tiffany Binion Mangum with the 2023 Community Service Award.

The final award given out by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee was the 2023 Les Kimber Community Service Award, given to the Central Valley Black Nurses Association, a group organized in 1973 under the leadership of Dr. Carol Drake, former Dean and Professor of Nursing at Fresno City College.

Dr. Kim E. Armstrong, newly elected President of Clovis Community College was present for the ceremony and commented on the importance of remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events such as the Community Awards Ceremony.

“I think this awards ceremony is very, very important…I think the awards say a lot about how this community is moving forward with making sure that they are on the cusp with all of our officials, especially with our law enforcement to make sure we are a diverse community.”

On the committee itself, Dr. Armstrong commented, “I was absolutely impressed..Being new here I get a chance to look at it from a different perspective, and it was very well done. The selected awardees were outstanding, they have the community support behind them.”

Chief Fleming offered his final thoughts on the ceremony, “I’m super excited, honored and kind of humbled that this committee’s been around for thirty-nine years, and to be selected as one of their awardee’s this year is a big deal.

I’m proud to represent our department and this city and kind of further our goals to have a diverse workforce and be recognized for that.”

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.