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Committee formed to explore Wasco police department

At this week's City Council meeting, Mayor Gilberto Reyna announced that he had formed a steering-advisory committee to look into implementing an independent Wasco police department.

"I have heard from many citizens who are dissatisfied with our current sheriff's policing services and want to see an immediate change," Reyna said in his remarks. "Worse yet, some are so frustrated with long-delayed or no responses that they have expressed a willingness to take matters into their own hands. I do not want that to occur, and we need to act decisively.

"The purpose of this steering-advisory committee is to answer what we need to do to start our police force, why we need to do it and how our City of Wasco can proceed. Public safety is our top priority. We will be providing concrete, actionable solutions."

Seven members comprise the committee: the mayor, Councilmember Vincent Martinez and community members Marcus Ballard, Rosalinda Chairez, Tracy Clendenen, Sharon Nicol and Orquidea Ocampo.

A resolution regarding the purchase of adult fitness equipment for the Central Avenue Neighborhood Park Project was unanimously approved.

In April 2021, the City of Wasco was awarded a $2.2 million Urban Greening grant for the construction of a new park at the northeast corner of Central and Filburn. The concept design for the park included an adult fitness area.

The city's cost for the equipment will be $35,000 plus tax, freight and a material surcharge. The special pricing is a nearly 40% discount from the normal state contract price and will be reimbursed by the city's Urban Greening grant.

A resolution was unanimously passed to accept a $5,000 grant from California Animal Welfare Funders Collaborative Program.

This grant aims to reduce shelter euthanasia for at least 20 dogs and/or cats during the grant period. This would be accomplished by providing veterinary services, including but not limited to vaccinations, basic wellness, microchips and spay/neuter surgeries.

Sergeant Charles Shinn reported on statistics between May and June. He noted the following: CFS (calls for service) went from 849 to 777, total arrests from 54 to 62, citations (traffic/parking) from 31 to 34, patrol checks from 96 to 66 and narcotics-related cases from 30 to 13.

A special recognition was presented to Juan Gallardo of the Wasco Youth Wrestling Club and Wasco Wrestling Family for his dedication and service to the community empowering youth through the sport.

One of the students, Colby Clark, led the flag ceremony while others performed several wrestling demonstrations.

Juan Gallardo said, "I am blessed to be a part of these young men and women's lives. I appreciate Wasco High School for allowing us a beautiful mat room for these athletes to have a safe place to come to."

"Thank you to the City Council for this honor and for being there for these kids by making the right decisions for the city of Wasco."

It was announced that a pet spay/neutering SNIP clinic was announced for Aug. 5 in front of the old courthouse. The time is to be determined.


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