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Biedermann turns down offer to serve as Lathrop’s first ever police chief

Nobody knows at this point whether the City of Lathrop will meet its target of having a fully functional police force in place by June of 2022 when the current contract with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is set to expire.

But if they do, they’ll be moving forward without the current head of Lathrop Police Services – a man that has spent more than half of his nearly 23-year in law enforcement working in the City of Lathrop.

According to current Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, he has turned down the offer from the City of Lathrop to start the new department that has long been on the city’s radar – instead choosing to continue his career with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office where he plans on running to replace current Sheriff Pat Withrow whenever he walks away from the job of the county’s top cop.

“It was flattered to be offered the job as the first chief in Lathrop and to have the chance to build something from scratch,” Biedermann said. “I’ve always had a plan for what I wanted to do with the sheriff’s office, and I have aspirations to continue – I want to end my career at the sheriff’s office and go even further.

“And I don’t think that it’s much of a secret that I’m going to run for sheriff when Pat is done and between now and then I want to continue down this current path.”

Biedermann started working for the sheriff’s office in 1998 when still in college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton – working first as an “inmate supervisor” before working his way up to a patrol position. He was eventually assigned to Lathrop in 2004 where he worked a variety of jobs including patrol, canine, gangs, and special assignments.

His canine partner, Niko, was killed in the line of duty in 2009 while working as part of a multi-agency taskforce and Biedermann would return to French Camp in 2014 to advance his career.

He was hand-picked by Withrow to head up Lathrop Police Services when he was elected sheriff in 2018 – an assignment that he himself had spent many years working during his tenure as a law enforcement officer for San Joaquin County.

While there has been some historical animosity when it comes to the contract between the City of Lathrop and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Biedermann said that the city and the people that live there will always hold a special place in his heart and the decision to remain on his current career trajectory was not an easy one – especially when weighing the opportunity of creating a police force from scratch and the positive challenge that will provide.

But after more than two decades with the sheriff’s star pinned to his uniform, walking away from a group he considers his “family” is hard to picture.

“A lot of the people that I work with are like family – that’s a big thing with Pat, our office being a family,” Biedermann said. “All of my good friends are from the sheriff’s office, and I’m getting married here in July – Pat is officiating the wedding and all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids are from the sheriff’s office. It’s where I’ve spent 23 years, and it’s where I feel at home.

“Lathrop and its people will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will do everything I can to help with the transition and help the person that ultimately takes over. I have no doubt they’ll find the right person and they’ll succeed, and I’ll be there any way I can to help.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.