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A little favor and a lot of hard work: Wasco PD nears start-up

Wasco Police Department (FILE)
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 22, 2024
  • A little over a year ago, the City of Wasco started its process of rebuilding the city's police department. Now after 13 months of work, the city has the staffing, equipment, and vehicles in place, but the only thing they're missing is their 9-1-1 call center.
  • When speaking with 23ABC, Wasco Police Chief Charlie Fivecoat said he started making notes about what a department starting from the ground up would need to get started. He joked about the irony of the first note he wrote down, which was to start the process of setting up the call center, is now the final thing the department needs to start sending officers out on the street.
  • Wasco City Manager Scott Hurlbert said at the start of rebuilding the department, he and Chief Fivecoat believed that finding staff for the department would be the most difficult part of the process, but he said they're both thankful that's not the case. The biggest challenge at this point, according to Hurlbert, is getting the equipment for the call center to work in tandem with various systems the department will use in their day-to-day work.
  • Chief Fivecoat told 23ABC he's hopeful the equipment will be operational in February, so the department can start training on it and be ready to start putting officers on the street by the middle of March.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

For over 40 years, the city of Wasco has contracted the Kern County Sheriff's Office to handle its law enforcement duties. And now, the city of Wasco is one step away from putting officers out on the streets, albeit a vital step.

In conversation with 23ABC, Wasco Police Chief Charlie Fivecoat said in many aspects the department is ahead of schedule whether it be hiring, enough equipment, or even vehicles for the department.

The final step is bringing the 9-1-1 call center online.

Fivecoat shared that before he was even hired, he started keeping notes on things that a brand new department would need to get up and running effectively, the first note from late November of 2022.

“I just thought it was ironic that the first note in my logbook, I keep a log on everything, and my first note was 'contact the state relative of peace app,' which is a call center, and see if I couldn't get approval,” said Chief Fivecoat.

When the city first started looking into the process of restarting the police department, both City Manager Scott Hurlbert and Chief Fivecoat believed hiring staff was going to be the hardest part of getting the department started.

“It's challenging for sure to find the right people, the right fit, get them through the recruitment process, but it has not been the most difficult. The most difficult are regulatory changes the amount of technology that has to fit together and work perfectly to make this happen. That became our critical path,” said Hurlbert.

Chief Fivecoat says that’s because he’s able to attract those who want to serve the Wasco community and help it grow.

“The thing that I tell everybody that applies to me, don't come in here and tell me when I ask you the question, ‘Why do you want to be a police officer?’ I don't want to hear to protect and serve. I want you to know your why. I want you to understand why you're here. And if you can tell me that you're here because this is an honorable profession, and that you truly want to help the citizens of the community. Then you're on the first step of making it here as a police officer.”

Talking with Chief Fivecoat earlier, he said that if all things go correctly, and that is an if, they should be out on the street by early to mid-March.


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