Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

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Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

It is with a heavy heart we mourn the loss of one of Santa Barbara Police’s finest, Police Officer and Dispatch Supervisor Gina Battaglia, who passed away suddenly from a work-related illness in August 2021.

Gina joined the Santa Barbara Police Department in September 2007 as a Police Officer working patrol, and later was promoted to Crime Scene Investigation Officer in October 2015. One of Gina’s greatest CSI skills was finding and collecting fingerprints. If a burglar had known it was her investigating the crime, they would have given the crime a second thought. 

In July 2018, Gina transferred to the Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center as a dispatcher and later was promoted to Dispatch Supervisor. Her training and experience as a Police Officer made her an absolute asset to the Combined Communications Center.  Gina truly had an “angel’s” voice on the radio for the officers responding to potentially dangerous calls.  Most don’t realize that a Dispatcher is who an officer relies upon to keep them safe, and Gina kept her officers safe.

Her friends and co-workers would describe Gina as always having a positive attitude and a welcome presence.  Her positivity was contagious.  Her supervisors commented how she was amazing to work with and strived to do the absolute best job possible.

Gina’s hobbies and interest included spending time helping with her children’s school activities such as baseball, softball, and soccer. She enjoyed playing golf and was a classic car enthusiast.

Gina was a dedicated public servant with a heart of gold.  She was deeply cared about by everyone she worked with, and her memory helps motivate all of us to be more positive, more caring, and more dedicated to our chosen profession.

Chief Bernard Melekian provided comments at the ceremony, including this excerpt, “It’s not how they died for which you remember them, but how they lived.”

Gina is survived by her husband and two children. Gina will always be remembered in our hearts and will always be a member of the Santa Barbara Police Department. An intimate ceremony was held at the Santa Barbara Police Department today, January 27, 2022, to remember Gina. A plaque has been added to SBPD’s Fallen Officer Memorial in her honor.

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JB86 Jan 29, 2022 12:22 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Unfortunate to use the words 'passed away suddenly from a work-related illness.' This begs the question of, just what illness might this have been, and is it still threatening department members? If they are not prepared to disclose what they are referring to, it would have been better just to avoid the cause issue altogether. The lady served well, she died too soon, and that is the real story.

Mesarats Jan 28, 2022 03:33 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

I recall some years ago the police talked the officers that died in the year due work work related and listing 1 from pancreatic cancer. The environmental risks are cigarette smoking, chronic diabetes, and obesity, not inferring he had any of those, and many patients don’t, but sure wasn’t work related.

RHS Jan 28, 2022 10:17 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Remarkable what speculation can be had about a comment like "work related". We don't know what the cause of death was and this release does not help. Better to not make the claim than to leave it hanging. People should know, however, that the safety personnel have successfully lobbied for laws that make a host of illnesses preemptively "work related" thereby qualifying their families for much higher death benefits and the employee for long term disability benefits if alive. Some of these are:
Bio-Chemical Exposures
Cancer
Heart
Hernia
Low Back
Meningitis
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
Tuberculosis

SBTownie Jan 28, 2022 08:54 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

It really boggles the mind how many people are saying these are "private medical issues" when they are on-duty acquired illnesses leading to the deaths of two of our officers, and the sickening of many more. These people are civil servants, and we the taxpayers and citizens, deserve the right to know exactly what conditions our civil servants are working under. The government has no right to keep these matters private if they are in fact the result of being employees of the SBPD. I am disturbed to my core that our officers are apparently being killed and maimed by something on-duty that we the public cannot know the source of. Why anyone is ok with the government or any public agency keeping secrets like this is beyond me. Is this risk being disclosed to other members of the SBPD? Thought exercise: if each of our Mayors suddenly died upon taking office due to "work related illness" acquired in city facilities do you seriously think we the public should not have the right to know what is killing the civil servants and WHAT is going to be done about it? It's absurd to say that no one would be demanding answers in that scenario. What makes officer Battaglia's life worth so little that you think the public does not have a right to know and to demand changes to protect our workforce?

Ahchooo Jan 28, 2022 08:12 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

I sincerely hope that people who knew or loved this woman won’t read the Edhat comments if they are the least bit sensitive about such things. But this is social media. Chatting about stuff that’s none of our business is what it’s about. And questioning facts from a press release is not inherently disrespectful.

sacjon Jan 28, 2022 04:53 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

SBTOWNIE - "I'll go down to the county recorder and request the certificate on this." That's truly ghoulish. Your obsession with this "entitlement" to be informed of the cause of death of "civil servants" is bizarre and sad. It's not so much about privacy, but respect. The family members and dear friends of this woman might be reading this. Do you even consider their pain and sadness as you demand "answers" because she was "a civil servant" and that you as a taxpayer deserve to know?

sacjon Jan 28, 2022 04:43 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

SBTOWNIE - you keep saying multiple cops are dying from "work related illnesses." Where do you get that?

Yeah, if teachers were dropping dead in the classrooms, I'd want to know. But one cop dying from a work related illness doesn't mean it's time to rally some "cause."

Give her and her family the respect and dignity they deserve.

SBTownie Jan 28, 2022 04:43 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Another thought, Sac... I don't know where you get the idea that someone's cause of death is private and it's akin to their medical records under HIPAA during their lifetime. It's literally on death certificates, which are available to the public. So this idea you've invented that no one has a right to know or can know is odd. I've just pulled up my grandfather's death certificate for example. Anyone can obtain this document by request. It is not private. The causes of death are listed as respiratory failure, advanced congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease and to each is attached the length of time he suffered from these conditions. The immediate cause is noted on the certificate and then beneath that are any illnesses or pathologies that contributed to the final cause. I'll go down to the county recorder and request the certificate on this. If it was COVID, for example, it will be listed.

SBTownie Jan 28, 2022 04:26 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

If a teacher died in class, no I would not demand to know how the teacher died. Unless the teacher died from a "work acquired illness" and other teachers were dying and being sickened. Then yes, I would absolutely demand a right to know and would want to know who was being informed. Were students informed, were parents, were new hired, etc.? Has the sickening agent or situation been removed, remediated, or ignored? These are all things I would want to know. If I were any other member of the SBPD I would want to know what the work-acquired-illness was (and perhaps that has been disclosed to staff, but we don't know); if I were a recruit considering a job at the SBPD same thing, I would want to know. You're really telling me if a teacher in your kid's class dropped dead of a "work acquired illness" you would not feel some right to know and therefore determine whether it were safe/appropriate for your child to continue attending school every day in the facilities where the illness was possibly acquired?

Ahchooo Jan 28, 2022 04:25 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Seems to me that if we don’t get to know *what* the work-related illness was, they shouldn’t have mentioned it. Why do we need to know anything about her cause of death, if we aren’t going to be monitoring the info for oversight purposes?

sacjon Jan 28, 2022 02:55 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

SBTOWNIE - no, you clearly missed the point. These aren't just "your employees," they're human beings. Ever stop to think the family doesn't want to divulge private information? You act like something is owed to you. It's not.

As for the whole public "deserving" an explanation so they can "demand change," how does that work without a full and public investigation? What good does it do us to know they died of X? Just knowing the cause of death was X, doesn't mean it was due to negligence or something we, as the public, could decry. You act like we're entitled to know the details of every public employee's death, but we're not, nor should we be. What if a teacher died in class? Would you demand to know the cause of death so you could start your "rally?"

Someone lost a loved one. Give them some peace for once.

SBTownie Jan 28, 2022 02:47 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Sac, I don't follow your logic whatsoever. Ms. Battaglia was someone's friend, therefore the public has no right to know what she died of while working as an officer in the SBPD? Really scratching my chin on this one.

ConservativeSB Jan 28, 2022 12:37 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

SBTOWNIE- your comment leaves me very conflicted but in a good way. This is a really well thought out comment. The patient deserves HIPAA privacy. But when it reaches a level that public sector employees are dying, the cause seems to be necessary. Was the family made a deal to keep it under the rug? Or were they made to feel comfortable so they wouldn’t release the info? If there was an exposure to something on the job, we’re all employees notified of their own possible exposure? There are a few fine lines to cross but I truly think there is a better and more transparent way to do this.

catlady Jan 28, 2022 08:18 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Those of you who are speculating about the cause of her death reveal your ignorance and stupidity. SBPD is not keeping anything hush hush. Her health issues are a private matter. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. She deserves the utmost respect and it's a huge loss to SBPD, both to their Dispatch Center and the rest of the Department. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family, friends and her SBPD family.

CoastWatch Jan 28, 2022 03:46 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

@ SACJON- A "Teacher" is a different category of "Public Employee" I know you are a self professed know-everything, but Police, Fire and Harbor Patrol are PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES.... When a PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEE dies and it is considered a "Line of Duty Death", it changes EVERYTHING. In fact, the State should be investigating and a public record of the cause of death in the LINE OF DUTY actually IS a public record... Why? because it changes the entire CALPERS retirement situation as well as finding out how to PREVENT further injuries or deaths to other Public SAFETY employees.

CoastWatch Jan 28, 2022 11:11 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

@ CATLADY- The unfortunate "line of duty death" of the Officer/Dispatcher is not a "private matter" if the death is related to her job. The taxpayers, City, other City employees and CAL-OSHA should be apprised of the cause of death if it is job / occupation related.

ZeroHawk Jan 28, 2022 10:14 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

no it is a private matter. their job is their job, but their death isn't nor is it your business why they passed away. some of these comments are outrageous and callous. unless you personally knew her or the other officer, it's frankly none of your damned business. at all. These men and women are out there protecting us, catching bad guys, putting themselves at risk every day for you and your safety and the safety and peace of our community, but you think you have some weird right to get personal with them because they worked for the city? that's about as dumb as a bag of rocks. Many have caught COVID and are off duty. Many have got sick or injured or other reasons. They are already very short staffed and are working overtime. I know this as a fact. I have friends employed there. Go find a better hobby, because what you assume you have a right to know is nothing more than that, an assumption. Be respectful and back off. Our Police force deserves the same respect from us as we expect from them.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jan 28, 2022 08:40 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

"It is with a heavy heart we mourn the loss of one of Santa Barbara Police’s finest, Police Officer and Dispatch Supervisor Gina Battaglia, who passed away suddenly from a work-related illness in August 2021."...

The last sentence is why people are interested. She died suddenly form a work-related illness and as such, has been granted extraordinary benefits only given to those who die in the line of duty. Was she killed by another person? Was it a freak accident? Did she take her own life? Was it Covid that was acquired on duty?

Its not a stretch for the people who pay for these services, for whom these employees serve, to know what was the cause of this "sudden work related death". I am positive that the City of SB, the State of CA , OSHA and the slew of lawyers who will pound the city with wrongful death suits in addition to the people who live and work in and around the department want to know. And we as the public deserve the truth and the facts.

You'd think that a person who calls themselves Catlady, would understand curiosity... But then again...

4thegreenergood Jan 28, 2022 04:30 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Suspected radon poisoning? Love how SBPD is trying to eep it all hush hush.
Wouldn't ever expect transparency from the corrupt SBPD.

What next? Legal battles to keep from having to pay out to this fallen officers children. SHAMEFUL

CoastWatch Jan 27, 2022 08:01 PM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

R.I.P. Officer Battaglia. If she was in dispatch, how did she succumb to a "work related illness"...? Having her death be work related changes everything with regard to death benefits and retirement benefits for her family.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jan 28, 2022 08:11 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Radon takes years if not decades to form into lung cancer. It is highly prevalent in SB. Most people have never heard of radon, let alone test or fix their homes for this deadly, odorless, colorless gas that is the second cause of lung cancer in the US. Test your home folks, radon is a major problem in SB and one that neither the State of CA or the local real estate cabal discusses or requires the disclosure of...

Stachybotrys (black mold) is also a problem in SB. Very common in older homes near the water. The Mesa is one giant fungus. Most of those houses were built in the 60's and have very poor ventilation and terrible HVAC systems and many are infested with Stachybotrys. It causes all sorts of respiratory illnesses and can cause severe health issues that can last a lifetime. Test your home people! Your indoor air quality is likely unhealthy.

However, neither of these are sudden killers. Makes me wonder what exactly killed this officer while on duty? Shouldnt this info be public? Regardless, I am glad they're finally building a new station. Way overdue.

4thegreenergood Jan 28, 2022 04:32 AM
Santa Barbara Police Department Mourn the Loss of Gina Battaglia

Black mold or Radon poisoning.. City has been fighting with SBPD's desire to move into a new Police Station. $$$$$$$$$$

https://www.kcbx.org/health/2015-08-05/city-investigating-employee-health-concerns-at-santa-barbara-police-station

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