Santa Barbara Sheriff Department Contents
WHY ARE WE SPENDING MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS HIDING WHAT PAID PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE DOING TO THE PUBLIC?
REPORTS OF SANTA BARBARA SHERIFF DEPARTMENT CORRUPTION NEWS STORIES
The Light and Dark Sides of Santa Barbara’s Police Forces
Personal Stories Many Positive, Others Painful of Everyday Interactions with Our Officers of the Law
After the death of George Floyd reignited demonstrations and debate over American police systems, the Independent asked its readers to share stories of their experiences with Santa Barbara law enforcement — the good, the bad, and everything in between. We put the call out on social media, through our newsletter, and over the airwaves of Radio Bronco, the region’s largest Spanish-language radio station, and we received hundreds of responses in return. These are 40 of them.
This collection of stories is not meant to be a celebration, nor a denunciation, of our police forces. It is not a scientific study. Instead, it is a comprehensively anecdotal assessment of how citizens view and interact with Santa Barbara’s finest. Many recall times when men and women in uniform made them feel safe. Others remember instances of harassment and abuse.
Among the expressions of both appreciation and misgiving is the general recognition that the majority of police — whether they be city Officers, county deputies, or state troopers — are well-intentioned people doing an exceptionally difficult job. But they also give rise to important questions about how the very structures of our law enforcement bodies may be flawed, and how they might be improved.
The Independent is only featuring responses from readers willing to put their names on the line in the interest of truth and candor. We granted anonymity to the very few who requested it, and only in cases when concerns over personal safety or pending litigation existed.
This is one element of an ongoing inquiry by the paper into the patterns and practices of Santa Barbara law enforcement, including reviews of use-of-force incidents where a person was seriously injured or killed. See those articles at independent.com/policefiles.