Fiesta celebrations are underway in Downtown Santa Barbara.
Law enforcement in Santa Barbara County have planned for increased patrols and emergency plans for months. Santa Barbara Police set up a command post in De La Guerra Plaza, the epicenter of the Downtown District.
“There are a lot of people that come to Fiesta to celebrate and have a good time and it’s wonderful, but we’re here to make sure everyone here is having a good time, but safe,” said Sergeant Jill Beecher, Santa Barbara Police Department.
Beecher has patrolled the city since 1988. She says downtown Fiesta celebrations are tamer now that the city prohibited drinking on the streets. However, law enforcement still have to make arrests each Fiesta.
“It’s usually alcohol fueled so whether it’s a fight or they’re just too intoxicated to take care of themselves. That’s usually what the problem is… having too much fun,” said Beecher.
Santa Barbara Police officers are assigned to each block of State Street. When strolling Downtown, celebrators will also see Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies.
“We help them with the afternoon crowd control and we also go into the evening. And what that does is allows the police department to focus on their public safety mission,” said Sergeant Dan Calderon, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
People celebrating also don’t seem to mind. Many people high-fived and waved as officers as they passed.
“I think it’s a good idea for the adults to be like safer especially with young kids here,” said Valerie Mendoza, Santa Barbara resident.
Officers will continue to patrol State Street throughout the weekend until Fiesta celebrations are over.