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Lathrop runs commercial to snag new police force
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The City of Lathrop is taking to the airwaves.

As part of its effort to have a fully-functional standalone police department in place by June of next year, the city has been running a pair of television commercials in a variety of different media markets – the first a commercial in the Lathrop/Manteca area notifying residents about a survey that they can complete to offer input into the process, and another advertising the opening of a chief of police position that is being targeted in the Sacramento and Bay Area regions.

The local commercial is slated to run through June 11 when the survey formally closes. Then the police chief recruitment video will run for another week in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas until the recruitment period closes on June 18.

The commercials are being produced and distributed by the consultant that the City of Lathrop hired to assist with the recruitment process but are being developed with the city’s own recent experience in producing television spots to get information out to large numbers of people.

And considering the high price of housing in California – specifically in some of the areas surrounding Sacramento and throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area – the targeted spots are intended to showcase the relative affordability of the Northern San Joaquin Valley which will allow recruits to live and work in the same place.

“This is something that we’re trying for this, but we’ve done this recently with the COVID commercials – it worked well for us because it got information out to the people that needed it,” Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore said. “As part of their recruitment it would get the information out to the granular level – into areas where we thought people worked or lived or would get their information.

“There are people that live in the Central Valley but work in the Bay Area, and this shows that there are employment opportunities here in the Central Valley without the commute. Some people live in the Bay Area simply because it’s closer to work but if they came over to the Central Valley it would be more affordable to them – we targeted some of those areas.”

According to the city’s timeline, the police chief will be hired first and will have a hand in recruiting and hiring their command staff before attempting to fill out the remainder of the roster – which the city says will have more officers than they were receiving under the contract with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

At that point a third commercial will run intended to recruit police officers to the force to round out the hiring process and allow the department to move forward with taking over law enforcement duties for the City of Lathrop by the time the contract formally expires at the end of next June.

The city and its consultants are still working on a plan some of the logistical elements needed to make the transition – like evidence storage and dispatch services – after San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow told the Lathrop City Council that he would not contract with the city for anything as long as Salvatore was in his current position.

Lathrop nearly pulled the trigger on a new contract with the City of Tracy in 2018 that would have required Lathrop investing in expanding Tracy’s dispatch capability to handle the new calls, and the consultant is currently looking at neighboring agencies that may be interested in a similar arrangement for dispatch services.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.