Public opinion sought on the draft ordinance for the supervision of the civilian police

By the city of Santa Barbara

The City of Santa Barbara is seeking comments on a draft ordinance that will guide its efforts in implementing a new police department civilian oversight system. The order is an important step towards strengthening accountability and transparency. This is a historic effort and the City’s first collaboration with the community in policing.

“The City strives for transparency and accountability in its operations, and community input is essential to making these efforts successful,” said Barbara Andersen, Senior Assistant to the City Administrator. . “It is extremely important that we hear from you at this stage of the process and throughout the implementation of the new civilian oversight system. »

The draft ordinance elevates and assigns new police oversight duties to the five-member longtime Fire and Police Commission. Among its new functions, the Commission will receive reports containing data on the number and type of internal and external complaints received and subsequent action taken, including the number of officers disciplined and the level of discipline imposed. The Commission will also review and discuss with the Chief of Police, in open session, individual investigations when they become disclosable under the California Public Records Act. Additionally, the Commission will receive submissions from the Chief of Police regarding any officer-involved shootings once the agency conducting such an investigation determines the findings.

The draft order also prioritizes community participation and engagement as a key part of building understanding of what our law enforcement officers face every day to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to the city of Santa Barbara. This includes rigorous training for commissioners as well as more opportunities for community input and education about policing practices in Santa Barbara.

In addition to soliciting public comment, over the next few weeks City staff will be engaging with various community members and organizations to gather feedback on the draft.

To view the draft ordinance, visit: SantaBarbaraCA.gov/CommunityOversight

The City welcomes all ideas, questions and concerns to be shared during this time. Public comments can be directed to [email protected] The deadline for public comments to be presented to the Orders Committee is September 20, 2022.

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