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McFarland Police Department looks to relocate to McFarland library

“It’ll affect a lot of the working families."
Library
Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 21:21:12-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The McFarland Police Department is hoping to expand its force as the city and population continues to grow, but the department’s relocation could take away an important learning resource from kids in the community.

Right now, the McFarland City Hall and Police Department currently share one building but the police department said the lack of space and storage is restricting them from operating efficiently as a department, forcing them to look at nearby buildings for relocation.

“It’ll affect a lot of the working families because it is a safe spot for the kids to go to after school and if it closes down where will they go,” said Fabian Herrera.

Fabian Herrera and his son love coming to the McFarland library.

“Right now, we’re focusing on Spanish books. So, he’s learning how to read Spanish too.”

Like them, McFarland Branch Library Associate Frank Cervantes said many kids and their families are excited to walk through these doors.

“There are so many children that come here and have a good time.”

But the library is only open two days a week, Chief of Police Kenny Williams said the police department will use it seven days a week.

“As they use it two days a week the police department will use a building like that 24/7 and you’d be able to service the community better.”

Williams said the department’s current space does not have enough room for its staff.

“I have 17 sworn staff and I don’t have them all hired yet, but they all share one squad room and its really tiny and it’s not conducive to do work and to do professional work.”

Or even to store records and evidence safely: “We have three different locations for our property that is not the way to run your property room.”

Williams said relocating to that location is not to get rid of the library entirely. He is searching for locations to move that resource elsewhere.

He said this location would allow the department to stay centrally located and provide better public safety to the community.

“When you look at it, it is a perfect size for what we need to do. It has the infrastructure that we need, it has the parking lot we need, and in addition, it will not take a lot of money to adapt it to our needs.”

Cervantes said he understands the department needs to protect the community but said rural communities like McFarland need this library.

“It's wonderful, we are located right next to the schools because kids don’t have to go on an odyssey to obtain these services because we are right next door for a lot of them.”

Williams said there is not enough money to build a brand-new building, so this is why the department is looking for alternatives.

He has brought it to the attention of city and county officials and is looking for other locations the library can be moved to.

So far the City of McFarland, the McFarland Unified School District, and the McFarland Parks and Recreation have sent the county letters of support for the police department’s move.