Mendota Opens Police Department

August 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The water shortage and high unemployment rate have been the talk of the town ... but Monday, some positive news for the city of Mendota. After almost 20 years the west Fresno County community will once again have its own police department.A lack of funding forced the city of Mendota to shut down its police department back in 1991. Since then the Fresno County Sheriff's Department has been charged with protecting this town 95-hundred people.

Chief Jerry Galvin and eight patrol officers make up Mendota's new police department ... which will be housed in this 52-hundred square foot facility in the city's north side.

Cheif Galvin says residents should immediately notice shorter response times and an increased police presence ... at least two officers on patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Right now the sheriff's department provides one deputy and about 16 hours of patrol a day.

City Mayor Robert Silva says despite the area's dire economy ... a police department makes financial sense.

The Sheriff's Department increased its patrol fees 25% last year and 28% this year ... to $550,000 a year. The cost of a new police department ... $770,000.

The mayor says "safety" had been cited as residents' number one priority.

Teresa Angel ... a Barista At Di Amici Coffee Shop, says she and her customers have noticed more loitering and crime in the past year. Now the new police department is the talk of the town.

Several Valley law enforcement agencies are helping the Mendota Police Department get started ... Clovis provided cameras and police vests ... and Firebaugh donated a police car.

The Mendota Police Department officially began patrolling Monday at 6:00 p.m.

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