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Manteca, Lathrop may explore law enforcement options

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POSTED February 4, 2013 12:44 a.m.

Manteca and Lathrop may explore options to work together to improve law enforcement in the two communities.

The Manteca City Council is being asked Tuesday to confirm Mayor Willie Weatherford’s appointment  of two of its members to a temporary advisory committee. Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal has already appointed himself and council member Steve Dresser to the committee to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The committee will also discuss advancing Lathrop sewer capacity that would be generated through future expansions at the wastewater treatment plant. Lathrop receives 14.7 percent of the plant’s capacity through a contract. Whatever deal is reached, Lathrop’s share of the capacity will not exceed 14.7 percent.

Lathrop currently contracts with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office for police services.

Discussions on law enforcement arrangements are preliminary. It could take the form of contacting services such as Lathrop now does with the county. There is also a possibility where the two cities could create a metro-style police agency as some other jurisdictions have done for public safety to obtain higher levels of efficiency.

City leaders have indicated casual conversations have addressed issues such as where police headquarters would be located. In such an eventuality that some type of deal is reached and Manteca builds a new station, possible locations for a police headquarters have been suggested along the Manteca-Lathrop border off either Louise Avenue or Lathrop Road. The site at 555 Industrial Park Drive that once housed Qualex has also been mentioned since it has quick access to the 120 Bypass and Interstate 5.

While beat patrol vehicles would be assigned to particular areas in both communities, having a headquarters that is easily accessible in terms of time reduces back-and-forth driving that may be necessitated by transporting prisoners. Location is also critical for backup situations as typically detectives and command personnel will often respond on major incidents.

A joint arrangement could enhance the ability of both communities to battle gangs and other such crime while retaining local control in each city.

One potential vehicle is a joint powers authority such as was put together for the Pleasanton and Livermore fire departments.

The two  Tri-Valley communities border each other just like Manteca and Lathrop. The JPA allowed fire stations to be situated that could serve both communities therefore cutting down on overall stations and personnel. It also enhances fire response and protection. Both cities have equal say in the Livermore-Pleasanton JPA for fire protection.

All discussions that been extremely preliminary to this point.

The committee will explore various options regarding both the sewer capacity and law enforcement.

If they reach some type of concurrence, a recommendation would then be advanced to both the Manteca and Lathrop city councils. Both elected councils would have to approve whatever proposal - if any - is made before it could move forward.

The City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

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