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Lancaster will have own police department next year


In conjunction with Sheriff’s Department

The City of Lancaster is forming its own police force due to staffing shortages at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.

The Lancaster Police Department will work in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). The Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, which is understaffed, is the busiest station in the county. In 2018, the Lancaster City Council started looking at a hybrid law enforcement model to help support the sheriff’s station.

The city police force, which is expected to start early next year, will focus on three areas, including strong community engagement and developing a high level of partnerships.

“We want to make sure that we are partnering and closely working with all the other service entities,” Public Safety Director Rod Armalin said, “and that is continuously with them, not just calling and saying, ‘We need you here.’?” Armalin served 32 years with the LASD.

“We’re looking to solve long term problems, some of the habitual things that have gone on that we’ll have the time to deal with,” Armalin said. Armalin will serve as Lancaster’s chief of police. He will be sworn in early next year, after which he will swear in the police officers for the new department.

“We want the community to be a part of this police department and to help guide us,”  he said.

He added the community will be included in some way in the hiring of the police officers. The police officers will have new Dodge Durango law enforcement vehicles to drive. The City Council, at the Aug. 8 meeting, approved the purchase of six 2023 Dodge Durango law enforcement vehicles for an amount not to exceed $474,030.

Lancaster will also have its own social services coordinators to cover mental health, homelessness, children and family services and faith-based organizations.

“As we become aware of needs in those areas, we want to see how, from a city perspective, we can address them,” he said.

The Lancaster Police Department will be a full-fledged, Peace Officer Standards and Training-certified agency with the ability to do everything that deputies can do. People will still dial 911 when they need help in an emergency. They will also call the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station main line when they need something that does rise to the level of a 911 call.

“The sheriff’s department, in working with us, will obviously let us know if there are issues that they believe we can take on and deal with long-term,” Armalin said. “And we’ll work side by side with them.”