As is traditional at the end of the year, the Wasco City Council on Tuesday night selected a new mayor –Alex Garcia – and mayor pro tem, Valentin Medina.
Garcia comes from serving as mayor pro tem, while Medina held the role of councilmember. For Garcia, it will be his second time as mayor.
"I am humbled and honored to be re-appointed mayor for the great City of Wasco this upcoming year. The unanimous vote of confidence from my council colleagues is an awesome responsibility I don't take lightly," Garcia said.
Medina added, "I will continue to work alongside our new mayor and the rest of the City Council to grow our city and our community and ensure that we will always put Wasco first. I look forward to serving my term and to a prosperous 2024."
Outgoing Mayor Vincent Martinez said, "Thank you to the community, city staff and my fellow council members for making this a memorable year. We made a lot of progress this year, but there is still work to be done. It truly was an honor to serve the city as mayor."
Another highlight of the council meeting was the badge-pinning ceremony recognizing Fortunato Mariscal (police sergeant), Patrick Klawitter (senior police officer), Armando Salcedo (police officer), Agustine Uribe (police officer), Anthony Trout (police officer), Carlos Harrison (police chaplain), Mike Lynch (police chaplain) and Brian Klassen (police chaplain).
They all took the oath of office administered by City Clerk Maria O. Martinez. The officers are all city employees; the chaplains are volunteers.
Police Officer Agustine Uribe said, "It's a dream come true. This is something I've wanted as a kid. I couldn't see myself doing any other career. Today, I feel like I've accomplished the biggest goal in my life."
Armando Salcedo, police officer, added, "It will be a new culture for the people of Wasco. They can know that we are here to serve and protect them. They can feel free to stop us in our vehicle and talk to us. It's an honor to work for Chief Fivecoat."
Salcedo started law enforcement in 2022 with the Shafter Police Department and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011 to 2015. "I think that prepared me for this role because of all of the training and the scenarios that we had in the military that will carry over to my career here in Wasco."
Police officer Anthony Trout has nine years of law enforcement experience as an Air Force civilian. "The best part will be meeting the city's people and building the trust in law enforcement that many cities have lost."
Chief Charles Fivecoat said, "It's exciting to see the project come to fruition. I'm still amazed at the support the community has given us, and we are going to endeavor to make sure we do the best job that we can."
The hiring of this latest round brings the team to 19 full-time staff (officers, dispatch and records personnel), two reserves and three chaplains for a total of 24. "If you add it all up, we have closer to 200 years of experience combined."
The new Wasco Police Department is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2024, according to Fivecoat, though there is no exact target date.