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Lathrop having own police force can save money
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The Lathrop City Council is moving forward to establishing the city’s own police department.

This important decision has not been made quickly; in fact, years of financial analysis have indicated the City can save money and provide more staff in police services tailored to meet the needs of the community.

Council’s decision reflects a commitment to take action when it is in the long-term of our citizens.

Why now?

Over the past decade, the City Council and staff have focused on ensuring a sustainable economic future for the City of Lathrop supporting steady growth projections for the future.

The city manager’s leadership to provide an environment for strong industrial, commercial and residential growth has resulted in a solid financial foundation.

The California State Auditor’s Office, in its most recent report, has ranked Lathrop in the top 10 of fiscally sound cities – out of 471 cities – throughout California. This has been possible because of stability in City Hall staffing, with a skilled and committed City staff team, supported by a committed City Council.

These factors have positioned the City to be able to stand up a new police department that will provide services that continue to meet the needs of residents, businesses, schools, community groups and visitors in Lathrop in a cost-effective manner.

The City has contracted with the County of San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department since incorporation in 1989 to provide police services. The City is grateful for the work performed by the men and women of SJ Sheriff’s Department to protect and serve the community. However, costs of this contract continue to rise measurably, largely driven by pension costs. The City will be able to operate its own police department at a lower cost while paying employees a competitive wage and increasing the number of officers.

A new Lathrop Police Station is nearing completion on the west side of Bradshaw’s Crossing Bridge. The objective is to spend the next 14 months staffing, equipping and preparing the new department to be ready for service on July 1, 2022. Tours will be offered to the public prior to opening.

As for the next steps?

A mastering plan for sworn and non-sworn positions is in the development and will kick off with the immediate opening of recruitment for the first police chief for the Lathrop Police Department. The chief is expected to be selected through a competitive process in July. Various other positions will be filled, with the expectation all police department staff will be hired by June 2022.

The City’s website has a section devoted to the development of the new police department and provides current recruitment information, project timeline, and project updates as previously provided by Council.

Also included on the website will be a survey for community input regarding the Lathrop police operations and police chief desired characteristics. This input will inform the City’s selection process of the police chief and future operations of the police department.

All of this is occurring because of the City of Lathrop’s focus on fiscal sustainability and commitment to delivery of quality services to the community. It is the vision of the Council coupled with the hard work and dedication of Lathrop City employees, who have positioned the City to be able to offer this new level of service to its residents and the public.