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Vicki Staten is the new community services officer for the Gustine Police Department. She is pictured with Lt. Samuel Joseph, who is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department.

GUSTINE - A new community services officer is on board at the Gustine Police Department, picking up a number of code enforcement and animal control duties.

Vicki Staten was recently hired to fill that position.

The department has been without a community services officer in recent months, noted Lt. Samuel Joseph, who has been overseeing day-to-day operations of the department.

In that time, he acknowledged, the city has not been able to fully address non-emergency animal control calls or code enforcement violations.

“We want to thank the citizens for their patience,” Joseph said. “We get animal calls, and unfortunately the officers don’t have the equipment and training to deal with some of those.”

The department also fields complaints relating to issues such as businesses operating without permits, building code violations and other violations, Joseph noted.

“Those are things that we don’t have the time or training to handle,” he commented. “Code enforcement is specific to those types of calls for service.”

Staten, who has a college degree in criminal justice, was working in the banking field when the GPD opportunity arose.

Joseph said the new CSO will take a pro-active approach toward code enforcement but also respond to citizen complaints.

“We use the citizens as a form of guidance to help us out when they see things that we don’t see,” he explained.

Her work will include some weekend details to address issues such as garage sales being held without the necessary permit and other code violations, Joseph told Mattos Newspapers.