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WPD employees form association

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, the Wasco City Council recognized the newly formed Wasco Police Officers Association. Employees of the department formed the WPOA to represent officers and other staff when negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the city.

In Wasco, as is common in most cities, the MOU document acts as a labor contract to establish hours, wages, working conditions and policies for its members in collective bargaining.

"We are happy to see our Police Department employees take this step. I look forward to working with the WPOA going forward," City Manager Scott Hurlbert said.

Also at the meeting, a proclamation for National Pesticide Safety Education Month was presented to Lideres Campesinas del Comite de Kern Norte.

February is designated to raise awareness around national pesticide safety education.

Local organizations such as Lideres Campesinas del Comite De Kern Norte are ensuring the health and safety of agricultural workers and communities affected by treated pesticide areas. "Their work is essential," Mayor Alex Garcia said.

He added, "Education is important, as is the work they do by advocating and providing information to the community, especially for those affected here locally."

Also,at the meeting, new police department recruits were honored with a badge-pinning ceremony. Police Sgt. Lloyd Galutira said, "It was great. We had a lot of support from the community and some of the prior agencies."

Galutira has been in law enforcement for nearly 18 years, having worked for the Delano Police Department as a school resource officer, K-9 officer, SWAT operator, range master, less lethal instructor and a leader supervising the traffic unit and the communications center.

"I joined to help establish this new Police Department," he said "I want to create a strong foundation and positive work environment. I'm excited to be here and provide excellent service to our community."

Working with WPD Chief Charlie Fivecoat, he added, "He is an amazing leader and is very supportive of his troops; he leads by example. I'm so grateful, and I've heard nothing but great things. I'm here to learn from him."

Another honoree, Reserve Police Officer Jose Garcia, said about the ceremony, "It was beautiful and well attended. It's just another step for the city of Wasco in its growth to provide services to the community."

He has a bachelor's degree in business and comes with 30 years of experience in the private sector. It is his first year as a reserve officer.

Officer Garcia thinks Wasco is a beautiful community and an opportunity to make a difference.

He said Chief Fivecoat inspired him to join law enforcement. "Because of what he has accomplished. Not only in the city of Wasco but in other cities he has worked in. He's made huge contributions, and he is someone I admire. Seeing what he's done, I wanted to be part of his mission."

Police Officer Maria Rocha also expressed her enthusiasm for the ceremony. "I feel happy to be able to start a new department and work as a team to make Wasco safe, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work as a police officer for the city of Wasco."

She has 11 months of experience serving as a police officer with the Delano Police Department. "And expand my knowledge here in Wasco and get to meet the community, to help with community relationships to work together to fight crime."

Rocha said her message to the community is, "Let them know they can trust us, and if they ever need us, they can ask for help."


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