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Lathrop building new police station at River Islands

River Islands will be the new home of Lathrop Police Services.

After spending nearly five hours discussing potential contracts with agencies that will provide the city with police protection as it takes the preliminary steps to launch their own independent department, the Lathrop City Council spent only a fraction of that time discussing and ultimately approving a proposal that will locate the city’s police station at a new state-of-the-art facility across the San Joaquin River where the majority of the city’s residential growth will be concentrated.

The developer will foot the initial bill of $8.8 million – which does not include the 2.5 acres that the building will sit on or the potential land for expansion – and recuperate those costs through building permits as more residential tracts come up for development. The city will be contributing $1.8 million from its Municipal Services community facilities fee fund that is generated by growth to bring the project to fruition.

And the relocation marks a significant shift of the city’s public safety footprint away from where it has historically been located and across the San Joaquin River where 11,000 new homes will stand once they’re built out over the course of the next two decades. The Lathrop Manteca Fire District is awaiting the completion of their new headquarters – located not far from where the new police facility will be constructed – which will eventually house both an engine and a truck company as well as the district’s administrative offices. It will be one of two new fire stations intended to serve River Islands and development in that vicinity.

Until last year, first responders heading to calls in the River Islands development had to drive across the San Joaquin River on Manthey Road and enter through the front of the development while the final clearance was awarded for the Bradshaw’s Crossing Bridge which extends River Islands Parkway into the new community.

Both the new LMFD complex and the new police station will be built near the bridge to allow for easy access to both sides of the San Joaquin River and provide additional coverage and response to the Mossdale and Central Lathrop Areas.

Several community workshops and outreach sessions were held to allow the public to comment on the potential locations for the new police station – which also included purchasing land across the street from the existing Lathrop City Hall, but that plan was ruled out because of the prohibitive cost that went along with acquiring that parcel.

Now it becomes a matter of which agency will utilize the building while the city takes the economic and bureaucratic steps to launch its own independent agency. Approval of a contract offered by the City of Tracy was tabled for more than 45 days on Monday to allow for San Joaquin County to offer either a more in-depth explanation as to why their contract is costing so much more money – projected to cost Lathrop roughly $2.5 million more annually moving forward – or to come back with a new contract more in-line with what Tracy has put on the table. Sherriff-elect Pat Withrow says that he would like to salvage the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the city, but would need more time to address the questions and concerns that a frustrated council says they have been asking for the last 18 months.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.