Fresno County rural police departments in need of an upgrade

ORANGE COVE, Calif. - A Fresno County assemblyman is trying to bring nearly $10 million to help bring four police departments in rural parts of the county much needed improvements.

Dr. Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, advocated for the funds earlier this month before the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety. The funds would go to Firebaugh, Parlier, Selma and Orange Cove; to do things like upgrade communication systems and build new facilities.

For Orange Cove, Arambula is trying to get $4 million for the department to build a new facility.

Orange Cove Police officer Roldan DeLeo has been with the department since 2009. Whenever he's out patrolling, he keeps tabs on the areas he knows has trouble – going to areas where gang members live and where recent gang activity has taken place.

He's one of about a dozen full-time officers with the department. Whenever he's on shift, he's only joined by one other officer. However, even with a small staff, DeLeo said it's easy to feel the constraints of the small building they're in.

It's most evident in a room in the back of the building. On the door, a sign reads "Men's Locker Room," which definitely is true since officers change in there.

But, it's also the break room, the briefing room and even where they interview and arrest criminals.

"There's times where officers are eating and they have to stop and pick up all their stuff; because that's the only place that we can process arrests," said DeLeo.

The building is also shared with the Orange Cove Fire Department. With the funds Arambula is trying to bring in, a new facility would be made just for police.

Besides the extra space, DeLeo said the new facility would improve morale and pride within the department.

"When we get recruits coming in, they'll walk into a facility where it will be a place where they want to work," he said.


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