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Citizens pushing for Lathrops own police
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LATHROP – John Rock thinks it might be time for the City of Lathrop to look into creating its own police department.

As a longtime member of the law enforcement community, Rock spoke openly at the Lathrop City Council meeting Monday night about an experience with Lathrop Police Services – a contracted agency provided by the San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Department – that left him scratching his head.

On Nov. 2 as his wife was driving to vote, she was rear-ended at an intersection on Lathrop Road. Council candidate Rosalinda Valencia saw the entire thing, and was planning on going with his wife to the parking lot where the motorists that hit her said they would meet to exchange information.

Then the group of men slammed on the gas pedal and disappeared.

When she came home and told him that she had been in accident, and handed the slip of paper that the responding officer and sergeant gave her, he was blown away.

“When she walked in the door and I looked at the paper, I couldn’t believe that it was a CHP form used for property damage,” Rock said. “If somebody is hurt in a car accident, then it requires an investigation – and filling out what they call a long form – that you have to have gone to school for in order to complete it.”

Because of his long career in law enforcement, Rock said that he didn’t want to throw the officer or the sergeant under the bus, and wasn’t going to pursue the matter further with any sort of formal complaint to higher agencies.

But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to let the council know what they should be looking for in their officers and what he feels they should be considering as they look towards the future.

“I told them that they know I have helped build city police departments similar to the contract that we have now, and now I’m going to be in favor of starting our own department,” Rock said. “I felt that the city was getting a pretty good deal with the contract that we had, but based on this kind of performance, it really worries me.

“I want the city to consider having officers possess an advanced POST certificate, or an intermediate with a basic or intermediate traffic school certification. The city should consider the training.”