BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The Bakersfield City Council is considering converting a former Mexican restaurant on California Avenue into an academy to train new police officers.
The city approved the purchase of the former Casa Tequila, 4646 California Ave., at the last council meeting, according to a news release from the office of the city manager.
The property is adjacent to the Centennial Corridor cleared right-of-way path. The parking lot of the property had to be acquired for the Thomas Road Improvement Program and the owner of the property elected to take the option of selling the entire parcel to the city, the news release said.
With the passage of Measure N, also known as the Public Safety and Vital Services tax measure, that added one percent to the city’s sales tax, the city plans to hire 100 new police officers over the next three years.
The problem facing the city is there is no space available for an expanded academy that meets state requirements. Adding to the problem is the fact that academy slots at other agencies, that had previously been available, are becoming scarcer.
The city is exploring whether the restaurant space meets the requirements needed to become an academy space.
The building would need to be remodeled, but other alternatives have been studied and the former restaurant seems to have the most promise early on, the news release said.
The option needs to be vetted by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). That organization has previously said BPD needs its own training facility.
The city will do further investigation into the option.