A California city is preparing to restart its police department this spring after going over four decades without the agency.
The Wasco Police Department is set to launch this spring, KGET-TV reports. The department is expected to have 23 officers and seven dispatchers.
“We’ve had a contract with the Kern County Sheriff’s [Office] for over 40 years to provide police services here in Wasco. So an entire generation or two have been without that," said City Manager Scott Hurlbert.
“So what will happen now is when citizens call for service, they’ll call a local office, they’ll know the people that they’re talking to,” added Police Chief Charlie Fivecoat.
In order to relaunch its police department, the city has spent between $4 million to $6 million. And while Wasco hasn't been without law enforcement coverage for the past 40 years, the increasing shortage of officers has made having a department more imperative.
“There have been shortages of recruits and folks that don’t want to get into law enforcement anymore, so there have been a general shortage, not just in Kern County, but California and nationwide,” said Hurlbert. “The sheriff’s ability to fully staff the Wasco station has been difficult.”
When the police department does finally get up and running, it will have plenty of work to handle, according to Fivecoat.
“We deal with the same problems that virtually every other city in this Valley deals with,” he said. “We have drug problems, we have gang issues that we need to deal with.”