Wasco is moving to make its new Police Department a Peace Officer Standards and Training recognized agency.
At the city council meeting on Tuesday, the council took the first action needed to authorized the department to become a POST-recognized agency, adding police dispatchers to an earlier authorization.
"We are modifying the 1961 ordinance to include police dispatchers," Chief Charlie Fivecoat said. "What we are doing is we are correcting the original POST authorization."
"The way they are doing that is we had to include police dispatchers in the ordinance because dispatchers have to be certified as well. It establishes professional standards and certification for both police officers and dispatchers."
The current ordinance related to this was last enacted in 1961. California legislation regarding law enforcement officers has greatly changed throughout the years, and the ordinance needed several updates to meet today's standards.
"This moves us further in launching our police department. We've been blessed. God has been helping us along the way."
Also, at the meeting, the council recognized the Community Action Partnership of Kern and College Community Services with proclamations declaring May Community Action and Mental Health Awareness month.
CAP-K addresses the underlying causes of poverty, alleviates the effects and promotes dignity and self-sufficiency in the communities they serve. It was established in 1965 as Kern County's official anti-poverty non-profit with its unwavering mission to make a difference.
"We operate 19 programs that primarily serve Kern County, addressing various needs and creating lasting impact," Chief Program Officer Louis Gill said.
One such program is its food distribution.
In 2022, CAP-K delivered over 19.1 million pounds of food across Kern County through its food bank.
Another program is its Broadway and Sunrise Villa Head Start in Wasco, tending to the children within the community and providing a head start to their education.
CAP-K also has a 2-1-1 call center that serves as a lifeline, connecting individuals with a wide range of social safety net services.
They have a migrant children program for supporting agricultural workers and their families.
"None of our achievements would be possible without the valuable collaboration of our community partners. It is through these partnerships that we create a network of support, making a real difference in the lives of those we serve," Gill said.
CCS is an outpatient behavioral health agency based throughout Kern County, with an office in Wasco.
"Mental illness causes untold suffering for millions of individuals and families in communities across the country," Mayor Vincent Martinez said.
CCS promotes emotional well-being and increases public awareness of mental health issues. One of its goals is to break the stigma around mental health.
"It is our responsibility both as individuals and a community to support and care for those in need and help people find the mental health resources they need for themselves, family and friends."
"CAP-K services, such as regular food distributions by its food Bank and WIC, and Head Start preschool education services are essential," Councilmember Gilberto Reyna said. "And CCS mental health services for children and adults are invaluable to our disadvantaged families. I congratulate CAP-K and CCS on their well-deserved recognition."