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Lathrop leaders pick color scheme for 1st patrol units
lathrop police car
The Lathrop City Council has decided to go with off-white patrol cars with custom graphics for the new Lathrop Police Department – which is scheduled to take over police protection duties for the city on July 1.

When the new Lathrop Police Department pulls up to a call, they’ll be doing so in a vehicle that looks completely different than those currently used by Lathrop Police Services.

The Lathrop City Council voted during a special meeting on Thursday to spend just under $58,000 to outfit the 16 new Ford Police Interceptor Units that they ordered for the new agency with an off-white paint scheme and custom decals that will differ greatly from the traditional “black and white” patrol vehicles that residents are used to.

The money for the style change was already designated by the council in its police transition budget.

And while the new style will help provide the new agency with a unique identity and set it apart from the agency that has provided police protection for Lathrop residents for more than three decades, the decision also serves a practical purpose as well.

According to Lathrop City Staff, the traditional black and white patrol vehicles often get extremely hot in the summertime and are difficult to keep clean – something that becomes important given the city’s rural location and the multiple levees that are within the city’s limits.

The city purchased its new police vehicles – the majority of which will be Ford Police Interceptor SUVs – through the State of California’s master contract with the manufacturer that priced them at $45,300 each.

And the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is not your standard patrol vehicle.

After working with representatives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan Highway Patrol, Ford included features on its new police vehicle that are revolutionary – from a hybrid drivetrain intended to save gas when vehicles are idling to an optional state-of-the-art system that detects threats around the perimeter of the vehicle and notifies the occupants of the vehicle of the location of the potential threat.

If the vehicle is equipped with the police perimeter package and it is activated, the vehicle will automatically activate the backup camera, roll up all of the windows, and lock the doors in addition to alerting the officer inside – a new step towards safety.

The vehicle has also been designed to withstand a rear collision from up to 75 miles per hour – protecting officers who may be pulled over on the side of the road from rear-end collisions by motorists that veer off the roadway.

The decision to end the longstanding contract with San Joaquin County for policing services fulfills a longtime goal of the Lathrop City Council to house its own, independent police department rather than relying on an outside agency to provide it for them.

The move is expected to save the City of Lathrop tens of millions of dollars over the course of the next several decades and will give the city oversight over the way that law enforcement duties are handled within the city limits.

Lathrop is currently the largest city in San Joaquin County that doesn’t have its own police force. As the city puts the infrastructure in place to be completely independent the city will contract with the City of Ripon for dispatch services – something that the City of Escalon, the smallest incorporated city in San Joaquin County and the smallest with its own police department, already does.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.