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Law Enforcement Oversight report presented to Santa Barbara City Council

Oversight report presented to Santa Barbara City Council

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-A mural of George Floyd Jr. on Haley St. in Santa Barbara serves as a reminder of his May 25, 2020 murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The murder led to protests, calls to de-fund police and more transparency from coast to coast.

Santa Barbara City Council members received the first report on Community Oversight of Law Enforcement and a work plan submitted on behalf of the Fire and Police Commission.

It is intended to be an annual report.

The report included 26 complaints filed in 2023.

A breakdown of those complaints showed only 8 led to further investigation.

One led to a termination.

The report was based on more than 47,000 calls for service that included more than 4,000 traffic stops.

The reported concluded that 99.96 percent of contacts did not result in citizen complaints.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Kelly Gordon said her department wants to make it easier to file complaints as well.

"The complaint form is more accessible, we take them by mail, you can drop them off to the city administrator's  office, you can come into the station, you can make them online, they are both in English and Spanish. We want to remove all barriers. If there is an issue we want to know and remove the barriers," said Chief Gordon.

The report also focused on Peace Officer Standard Accountability, or POST, that came out of California Senate Bill 2.

The bill ensures officers let go can no longer work as officers in California.

The ultimate goal of the oversight report is to show progress when it comes to transparency and trust.

Council members overwhelmingly said they accomplished that.

They agreed that in the past the council chamber would have been crowded with people upset about law enforcement.

Only a few people were in attendance for the report on Tuesday.

Lizzie Rodriguez was among one of them.

Rodriguez serves on the Fire and Police Commission and talked said she became a certified practitioner of oversight methods.

She considers civilian oversight an important part of improvements.

Senior Assistant City Administrator Barbara Anderson said she found out on Sunday that she passed certification process.

But Anderson said as a community there is more work to do.

One of the goals for 2024 is to have more community engagement.

That is likely to bring commission meetings to neighborhoods in the near future.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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