It’s a policing model that has been used across the country as a way to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the public.
And ever since the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office utilized community oriented policing – or, non-ironically, COP – in the execution of its contract with the City of Lathrop for police services, there have been deputies that have worked diligently to ensure that the services rendered meet the standard of the community and that those who are designated to patrol and interface with the public do their part to bridge the gap.
But ever since Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Ryan Biedermann stepped in as Lathrop’s Acting Chief after James Hood went out on leave, things have just been different.
Take, for example, the sting operation that Biedermann helped coordinate that targeted people who prey on children in the community.
He hadn’t been assigned to Lathrop long before orchestrating something that nabbed an alarmingly high number of people who had come into the city for very nefarious purposes, which not only brought attention to what remains a serious issue but showed that his staff is taking their assignments seriously as well.
This isn’t a knock on people who have helmed Lathrop Police Services in the past at all. And, admittedly, I personally enjoyed getting to know and talk to James Hood on a personal and professional basis immensely over the years. So, to clarify, I’m not at all saying that the job that they did was in any way inadequate. And I don’t think that other people feel that way either or there wouldn’t have been such a tremendous outpouring of support for what until now has been the city’s only law enforcement provider when the opportunity for the city to contract elsewhere arose.
It’s just that since he’s been in town, Biedermann has been exceptionally active at not just addressing complaints and cleaning up ongoing issues but has truly served as a face of a department and a liaison to the community.
Just this past weekend he and a handful of other deputies from the Sheriff’s Office proved that when they ran a 5K at Woodward Park in Manteca to help raise money for the family of Kyle Henricksen – the Manteca native and Pleasanton police officer that is currently battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer with every ounce of energy he possesses.
I don’t know if Biedermann knows the Henricksen family personally or if he was just showing support for a fellow brother in blue, but the gesture of reaching out and assisting – and running in full uniform himself – shows the level of dedication that he is bringing to the job and it is wonderful to see.
Lathrop is changing. When I was growing up in Manteca – back when Sierra High School was the campus that Lathrop students attended when they matriculated to high school – it was always viewed as such a sleepy town with absolutely nothing to do. But with the city on the verge of a population explosion like they have never seen before, and companies realizing the value in moving their distribution operations to a centrally-located place like Lathrop, the city I remember from my youth is officially no more as planners and elected officials grapple with the hard decisions pertaining to growth.
And some of those hard decisions pertain to how the city will handle law enforcement as it grows into a mid-sized Central Valley community.
When Sherriff Pat Withrow talked to the council about how Lathrop will always have a soft spot in his heart, I assumed he was at least partially politicking – the city was, at that time, on the verge of signing with Tracy to provide police services and losing Lathrop would have meant losing millions of dollars to the Sheriff’s Office budget every year.
But it appears that Withrow has made good on his promises to the city, and with somebody like Biedermann at the helm of the department during this time of growth, the citizens of Lathrop appear to be in good hands.
Here’s to hoping that Biedermann is around for a long while because he’s making a difference in Lathrop almost immediately, and from my observations is everything that a chief should be when community-oriented policing is the platform in which the agency serves the community.
Somebody has a sense of humor – and it’s wonderful
There’s apparently a movement in law enforcement to have the person who operates the agency’s social media accounts be somebody with a tremendous sense of humor.
More than a few Northern California departments have somebody at the helm on Facebook and even Twitter that are witty and sharp, and that works wonders at lowering the effective filter and humanizing the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.
And it’s wonderful to see that the City of Manteca is now getting on board with the trend.
Just today there was a Facebook post likening the department’s K9 officers to The Brady Bunch, and I’m dying to see what Miss T. – the new “liaison” that appears to be at the center of the department’s new creative online presence.
While Manteca hasn’t always been on the forefront of the move to interject humor into maintaining a relationship with the public online, that appears to be changing and is something that I feel a whole lot of people – especially younger people that follow what is happening through social media – are going to get behind.
I look forward to seeing what they come up with. Until then, I’m going to have a laugh at the Brady Bunch post because I think it’s the funniest things that I’ve ever seen.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.