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Wasco Police takes over April 18

After much anticipation and excitement, the Wasco Police Department will launch on April 18 and assume law enforcement responsibilities for the City of Wasco.

At about 11 a.m., 911 circuits will begin to roll over from Bakersfield to Wasco. "We'll start to transition service calls from the Kern County Sheriff's Office to the WPD," Chief of Police Charles Fivecoat said Tuesday. "We'll be handling all police responses for the city. We will start operating on the morning of the 18."

Some overlap will occur. "There will be some cross-over during the day as we're coming into the building as they are leaving, but by the end of the day on the 18th, we should have full control of it."

He said his team is ready. "We have nine noncommissioned dispatchers and records personnel with 17 police officers to put out on the street, which we will increase to 23 in the next two months."

He added that he brought in a strong group that joined for the right reasons. "They realized it's not very often in a career that you have an opportunity to be part of a new agency."

"We have brought in some very talented, experienced supervisors. I truly have a very solid lieutenant with Alecio Mora. We put together a good team. People came here because they believe in helping people, which is why they are here."

The department is equipped with 16 police vehicles, three on order and updated facilities. "We built a new 911 dispatch center, a server room to run the records system, and expanded and modernized the lobby to be more user-friendly for the public."

He said they are still planning to build a new police station. "It depends on funding, though we did receive $5 million thanks to Senator Melissa Hurtado and Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains, though that's only about a quarter of the cost to build it."

The department has updated equipment. "We have had downtown cameras for a long time in various locations in business areas, but they are antiquated and not effective. Earlier this year, we contracted with a vendor to install cameras in various locations around the business district."

"Our dispatchers will be able to monitor the camera system in real time. So, if they see a problem downtown, they can dispatch a police officer right away."

"We've got the modern equipment that comes with the Police Department. Everything we purchase is the latest standard."

Chief Fivecoat hopes that his team will build close connections with the community. "This weekend, we had officers playing t-ball with kids, and we participated in a community clean-up. That's how we get that relationship: by working with the community.

"The only way we'll be successful is by partnering and working with our community. I believe the police are the people, and the people are the police, and being involved in the community helps build trust.

He thanks everyone for their efforts to bring the Police Department to fruition.

"The new Police Department is the result of the City Council's vision and the leadership of our City Manager Scott Hurlbert. Every employee of the city, our allied police department agencies and the citizens of our community all worked together with a common cause of forming the Wasco Police Department."

 

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