Mayor of McFarland requests more state assistance for police station

Mayor Saul Ayon called on Governor Gavin Newsom for more state funding for the McFarland Police Department. The additional funds being used to fund the upcoming new police department and a task force.
Posted at 1:00 PM, Mar 11, 2024

MCFARLAND, Calif. (KERO) — Requests for additional funding for the upcoming McFarland Police Station and to create a task force come from McFarland Mayor Saul Ayon to Governor Gavin Newsom.

  • On March 1st, McFarland Mayor Saul Ayon called Govenor Gavin Newsom to action, requesting more state funding for the new police station and to create a task force to focus on the opioid epidemic.
  • Speaking with Chief of Police Brian Knox, he says there is a lot that needs to be done regarding the remodel of the police station and is content to see the Mayor stepping in to help.

The opioid and fentanyl crisis has been an ongoing issue in Kern County, but the lack of resources in smaller communities has led to the Mayor of McFarland calling on Governor Gavin Newsom for state assistance.

This request could bring the city extra resources to assist with the negative impacts of the drug crisis and the impact it's had on the community.

“Our general fund only brings in five million,” said McFarland Mayor Saul Ayon. “Our police services, our fire contracts, that eats it all up, that’s close to five million so what do we have for essential services right so we got to find revenue.”

McFarland Mayor Saul Ayon says funding is always hard to come by but he says it doesn’t help that McFarland is surrounded by other larger communities.

The Mayor calling Governor Newsom to action on March 1st stating that if the city were to have additional funding and resources — McFarland officers would be better prepared and the chances of lowering crime rates would increase.

“We need the help and we need the resources to combat that high crime that's in Kern County according to the stats and if we could address those issues it’s just about the funding and the partnership with all Californian’s,” said Mayor Ayon.

But it’s not just a decrease in crime, in the press release the Mayor is also asking for a task force to focus on the rising opioid epidemic.

According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, there were 297 fentanyl deaths in 2023.

The Mayor saying while he hasn’t heard of any recent fentanyl deaths in the city, they want to work proactively not re-actively.

McFarland Police Chief Brian Knox says he is content with the action the Mayor has taken so far since he believes enough isn’t being done to combat these issues.

Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing McFarland Police Chief Brian Knox
Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing McFarland Police Chief Brian Knox

“Geographically, where the city of McFarland is, we’re on a corridor that runs up and down the state and not far from us is a bigger corridor and interstate 5 and that’s how these drugs get trafficked throughout our communities its not like they drive through and go to a different area they stop here,” said Chief Knox.

With a police force made up of 16 officers, Chief Knox says there are always issues when it comes to having the manpower needed for certain cases and are currently relying on partnerships from officers from Delano, Wasco, and KCSO.

Mayor Ayon saying the task force would not only tackle the ongoing epidemic but it will also relieve current officers off their work load.

“The units have been eliminated as far as the gang unit or any of those units,” said Mayor Ayon. “You know they got to go respond to calls they can’t do their investigations and time is limited.”

Mayor Ayon says despite this call for extra assistance, the Governor's office still hasn’t responded.

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