WASCO, Calif. (KERO) — On Tuesday night, the Wasco City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Mr. Charlie Fivecoat as Transitional Chief of Police for the city.
Fivecoat comes to Wasco with 33 years of experience in law enforcement, as well as 11 years in private sector security management, and more than 14 years teaching political science for both the Kern Community College District and the University of Phoenix. In addition, Fivecoat is an Army Airborne vet and served as captain for the California State Military Reserve Headquarters in Sacramento.
Fivecoat has also had quite a bit of experience as a police chief, having contracted with McFarland and Tehachapi to serve as chief, as well as having been chief of police for the City of Shafter from 2006 to 2011.
Earlier this fall, the Wasco City Council directed city staff to begin the process of starting up a local police department. Appointing a chief, a lieutenant, and records administrator are part of the first phase of this effort. This core team will ensure the department’s certifications are valid, acquire equipment for officers, establish policies for the police department, and begin recruiting.
At the moment, the City of Wasco contracts with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services, but due to staffing shortages, KCSO has been discussing closing their Wasco substation, which would leave a law enforcement gap in the area. The Wasco start-up team, including Chief Fivecoat, will work closely with KCSO to ensure a smooth handoff of responsibilities from the county to the city.
Wasco City Manager Scott Hurlburt said despite the challenges the Wasco team faces, he has confidence in their abilities.
“The Sheriff’s deputies here in Wasco do a fantastic job, but the staffing difficulties are significant, and no one expects that to change right away,” said Hurlburt in a statement. “Both parties feel it is best to get out ahead of this and work together toward a smooth transition of duties.”
Deliberations on tapping Fivecoat for the job were held in closed session, after which City Attorney Tom Schroeter reported that the Wasco City Council had authorized Hurlburt as city manager to finalize Fivecoat’s contract and proceed with the process of hiring him as police chief.