SB City Council Adopts Recommendations for Police Department Oversight

Source: City of Santa Barbara

During a Special City Council Meeting on Monday, June 6, 2022, the City Council adopted staff’s recommendations for oversight of the Police Department and included additional direction to ensure that community expectations are met during implementation of the new civilian oversight system.

“This is a level of oversight of the Police Department that the City of Santa Barbara has never experienced before in a manner that is proactive, not reactive and still provides the opportunity to learn and evolve as we continue to receive more input from the community,” shared Barbara Andersen, Senior Assistant to the City Administrator, during the presentation to Council.

The Council adopted staff recommendations to enhance the oversight duties of the Fire and Police Commission through the drafting of new ordinance language, and that monitoring responsibilities be designated and elevated to the City Administrator’s Office. Council also supported staff’s direction for the approval of a contract with the Office of Independent Review for a strategic analysis of key functions of the Police Department.

After hearing public comment, Council added direction that included obtaining a contract of no less than one year with a monitor professional to assist with the creation of auditor-monitor functions in the City Administrator’s Office given that this would be the first time these duties would be assigned to this office. It also included a reconstitution of the Fire and Police Commission, which will be facilitated through a special recruitment process in order for members to be appointed based upon the new duties; as well as the commitment to working collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify the threshold for third party investigations of police misconduct.

The staff will also be working with former members of the Community Formation Commission and other community leaders in drafting the ordinance language in enhancing civilian oversight duties of the Fire and Police Commission prior to it being reviewed by the Ordinance Committee.

Council members acknowledged the incredible work of the Community Formation Commission as well as staff in identifying opportunities to incorporate their recommendations into existing oversight mechanisms and current personnel given the budget constraints that the City is confronting over the next several years.

Council and staff expressed their support and appreciation for the men and women of the Santa Barbara Police Department. Mayor Randy Rowse shared the sentiment, “I have a feeling of what this department was, what this department is, and what it continues to be, and what it strives to be in the future. This is an exceptional department.”

What do you think?


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  1. SB Neighbor, good points on this and you are absolutely correct when you say that SBPD is NOTHING like those other precints you mention. It does not even compare.
    Accountability is accountability and proper training makes for such accountability. This is where any law enforcement agency can improve.
    But a lot of that also comes with partnership from the community. The community has to be willing to help law enforcement on matters because in the end, law enforcement responds to community requests (i.e. calls, complaints).
    Now, about POV’s, correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume you mean bodycams. That is an interesting issue. Let me begin by saying I completely agree with body cams, they are useful in many cases and for many reasons.
    The reason I find the issue of bodycams interesting is the flipflop position some groups have taken on those. Initially, ACLU and numerous criminal rights advocacy groups were completely behind all law enforcement using bodycams.
    So law enforcement began to employ the use of those and when it becamse apparent that arrestees were behaving badly the flipflop began.
    The bodycams gave law enforcement more leverage based on the fact that bad behavior by criminal suspects was now being recorded.
    The ACLU maintained their position on bodycams, but a bunch of other criminal rights advocacy groups were not happy, as it showed those they claim to defend from wrongful prosecution in action.
    With all this said, better training on particular practices and bodycams are the best tools that restructure can go to in our local law enforcement.

  2. Chillingrillin, you are probably going to respond with a hateful comment given your hatred of me and the truth that I share, so whatever, but I will say that I agree with your assessment on both, the agencies and the “out of town activist” component you mention.
    That out of town component is real. The biggest of them is Central Coast Abolitionists out of San Luis Obispo. They hide behind the “defund the police” banner, but in all truth, they are abolitionists whose goal is to abolish law enforcement. They are also one of the pro-criminal rights advocate groups I mentioned.
    They are in cahoots with the local extremist groups such as Bonfire Collective and UCSB FTP. The way they made inroads with the UCSB community is through a falsely intended social media page called UCSB4COLA which is supposed to be about cost of living adjustment. It isn’t.
    That page is basically a front to spread abolitionist propaganda disguised as social reform to the impressionable young minds.
    In any case, good observations on your part, I can agree with those to the fullest extent.

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