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Lathrop may find police new home

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POSTED August 31, 2017 1:23 a.m.

As Lathrop prepares for a coming population explosion from new home construction, there are questions about certain strategic resources.
Will be there enough space for the Lathrop Police Department to grow in order to accommodate the additional people that comes from development?
On Monday, the Lathrop City Council voted to allow city staff to start looking into options about relocating Lathrop Police Services to a part of the city that be more centrally located and provide additional space to meet the demands of maintaining order and safety in a community that is projected to more than double in size in the coming decades.
According to Lathrop Police Chief James Hood, it has become a challenge to try and fit all officers – 24 of them excluding himself – into the building at the same time in the event of a necessary meeting.
And when they’re broken up into smaller groups, Hood said there isn’t enough space inside of the complex – which has housed the city’s police department for more than a decade – to allow for all of the patrol officers working on a given shift what they need in order to compile electronic reports one they arrive back to wrap up their paperwork for the day.
While he’s diverting any suggestions of location of a new complex back to city staff – noting that they have a better understanding of what would best serve the citizens of Lathrop – the need, he said, is definitely there now as the city and the department discuss how to make sure that services keep up with the number of residents that will soon call Lathrop home.
In order to do so, Hood said, the department is also looking at maintaining staffing levels appropriate with the population of the community and how to make that work.
“Maintaining our ability to serve the public is something that we’re looking at as the city grows and places like River Islands welcome more people to this community,” Hood said. “That’s the one place right now that’s growing tremendously – I just got back from out there and when I saw how far out they’ve gone it blew me away.
“We want to be able to maintain that standard, and it’s something that we’re looking at options on.”
A study session on the future location of Lathrop Police Services will be scheduled for sometime within the next six weeks, and public input will be sought about where to locate the new complex, and how that new complex will come to be – whether it’s finding an existing building like what the city did when moving the department to its current location, or building something new closer to City Hall where land may be currently available for purchase.
Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal said that the council remains committed to not only ensuring that the police have everything they need to perform their duties moving forward, but doing so before it becomes a situation where the city is reacting to the growth rather than planning for it.
“The community is growing and so the police department is going to grow as well,” Dhaliwal said. “We need to make sure that we there is ample protection for our citizens, and the police department needs more room both ow and in the future and that’s why we’re being proactive instead of waiting and scrambling at the last minute – we’re preparing now for the future before it becomes an issue that impacts our residents negatively.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.

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