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New Lathrop facility opening in early 2021
LPD rendering
Even though the pandemic has slowed the pace of construction, the new Lathrop Police Department in River Islands is expected to open early next year.

Lathrop Police Services could end up getting a fresh start in 2021.

After decades of using repurposed spaces to operate within the community, the purpose-built police station in River Islands is nearing completion and could be ready to be moved into early next year.

While construction was moving at the expected pace during the early phases of development, the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted efforts to continue at that same pace, according to Lathrop Police Ryan Biedermann. Shipments of materials needed to complete the project – which will be located just across the Bradshaw’s Crossing bridge to locate the facility in what will be the geographic center of the city – that are coming from out of state has been delayed, Biedermann said, but the facility is still on track to be utilized soon.

And it’ll be the first time that the agency will have all its resources located under the same roof.

“We’re going to be able to have all of our equipment in the same place – we’ve always had things that we had to store off-site because there wasn’t room for it,” Biedermann said. “So, there won’t be any sort of a delay when we need to use something for an investigation.

“That’s going to make a huge difference when it comes to responding to the community when they need us, or the situation calls for it.”

The move will also bring the department back into the city limits after it was transferred to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office after the city was unable to reach an agreement with the landlord for the building on 7th Street that has served as the department’s home ever since it moved from a complex that was owned by the Simplot Corporation on the other side of Louise Avenue.

The decision to temporary relocate was made late in 2019 and leaders were expecting the completion of the new facility to take between 12 and 18 months – putting an opening in early 2021 in-line with what was forecasted.

While the temporary relocation to the sheriff’s department complex behind San Joaquin General Hospital hasn’t prevented the agency from operating efficiently in the community, the move will make Lathrop the first stop for deputies and detectives assigned to the community – and will, according to Biedermann, put more officers in town than ever before.

And the bells and whistles will also change the way that policing is carried out in Lathrop.

In addition to adding things like a secure armory where weapons and ammunition can be safely stored on-site the facility will also include a wall of monitors that will allow for real-time monitoring of all of the city’s cameras – both the intersection cameras that monitor traffic and the security cameras that protect vital city infrastructure and buildings.

The building – the first in the city’s history to be designed from the ground-up as a police department – will be the second public safety headquarters building to be relocated to River Islands after the Lathrop Manteca Fire District opened Station 35 on the opposite side of the master-planned community. Once fully completed River Islands will be home to more than 11,000 homes and will dramatically shift the population center of Lathrop’s City Limits – putting both the police and fire headquarters closer to the middle of the community than on the outskirts where they would be had they stayed in their previous locations on 7th or J Streets.

Local architectural firm LDA Partners completed the design of the new facility. The company is also designing plans for a remodel of the former Lathrop Manteca Fire District headquarters on J Street and has been at the helm of designing several high-profile municipal buildings in Manteca including the Manteca Transit Center and the city’s newest fire station as well as the DMV buildings in both Grass Valley and Stockton.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.