SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In the wake of Black Lives Matter rallies and protests pushing for police reform, the city of Santa Barbara is taking steps to hold the powerful accountable. They're creating a community police review system.
Sarah Gorman is Santa Barbara's city clerks services manager. She said, "This is part of the responses that came forward in June to community outreach."
The city is currently taking applications to form the Community Formation Commission or CFC. The CFC will then help the city create a civilian review system that will represent the community in police investigations. The city hopes to find a diverse group of applicants from all backgrounds, including those who are experiencing homelessness and non-U.S. citizens.
"We want to make sure that it's not just city staff making this decision but that we're really getting input and criteria from people of lots of different lived experiences," said Gorman.
In a statement from the city, they stated in part, they’re hoping for a diverse group of applications to best represent the community. They’re looking for members who are interested in community affairs, social justice, criminal justice and equal rights. The city even adds U.S. citizenship is not required.
Jacqueline Inda wears a lot of hats. She's a member of the Greater Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as the Resilience Institute. She plans to apply for one of the positions to give a voice to the Hispanic community, which makes up 46% of Santa Barbara's population.
"If you look at the statistics of things like the Freedom of Information Act requests and what percentages of the population are directly affected, in this county the largest incidents of crime committed against individuals in regards to law enforcement is the Hispanic community."
She hopes the city gives the board real authority.
"The reason why folks have been advocating so strongly for a civilian review board, with power, is because we know that when we are given the opportunity to successfully report to a place where we feel safe, we do it," said Inda.
Right now the deadline to apply is October 30. But that could be pushed back to December 4. To apply visit the city’s website.