Police Chief Cam Sanchez addresses the council. City Administrator Jim Armstrong looks on.

Paul Wellman

Police Chief Cam Sanchez addresses the council. City Administrator Jim Armstrong looks on.

The Cam Show

Police Chief Delivers Monthly Report to City Council

Thursday, April 19, 2012
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Property crime is up, violent crime is down, and gang-related crime is way down, declared Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez in his monthly report to the Santa Barbara City Council this Tuesday. In the first three months of 2012, Sanchez said there were 18 reports of gang-related incidents — defined as gang-on-gang confrontations or any activity designed to further a street gang — compared to 64 in the first three months of 2011. Tagging, likewise, is down, though Sanchez cautioned that maybe only 10 percent of all graffiti was gang-related. The chief noted that the city has been hit by a rash of auto burglaries that he said has his officers “chasing their tails.”

Sanchez said 2,580 people applied for the one entry-level officer vacancy, 472 took the exam, 271 passed the physical agility test, and 260 will be interviewed. He announced that he’s including an item in this year’s budget to purchase in-car cameras; currently, Santa Barbara and Guadalupe are the only two law-enforcement agencies in Santa Barbara County without such equipment. He also announced his intention to begin “minor league” recruiting effort to start grooming Santa Barbara teens for the department to nurture the SBPD’s roots in town. And in an effort to improve community relations on the Eastside, Sanchez said he and many of his officers will cohost a potluck with PUEBLO — an organization that’s been critical of the chief and the department’s car-impoundment practices for unlicensed drivers — on June 7.

The chief never addressed a proposal that came to light last week to give the council legal authority to hire and fire the chief; currently, that power rests with the city administrator. Only Councilmember Cathy Murillo acknowledged the matter. If people had issues with the department, she said, they should voice their grievances during the chief’s monthly presentations. “This is the venue,” she said. “right here, right now.” No one from the public, however, showed up to say anything.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Kudos to Chief Sanchez and the SBPD. We are all proud of our cops, they always to a great job.

contactjohn (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2012 at 5 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And what about Beutel and the "independent investigation"?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2012 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Any part of politics is "politicized" and the Police Chief is a political position. It's important for the Council to acknowledge the amount of overwhelming "no confidence" there is against management style currently orchestrated by CAO James Armstrong's ability to quality assure individule department practices.

Whether it is the POA (Santa Barbara Police Officer's Association), the Citizens For Police Accountability and Transparancy, or even a retired official with the FBI found in Tom Parker - a pattern exists where discrepancies appear to be met with stubborn denial by part of the CAO's office.

The monthly report needs to be more thoroughly campaigned to the public; and in the past, schedule within the Agenda has made it difficult for the public to predict what hour a presentation will be delivered .. i.e. 2PM or 6PM?

It seems that according to published reports over the past year, police officer(s) Kasi Beutel and Aaron Tudor, the first for repeated offense in false representation, and the latter in persuing suspects, encountered on duty, for personal reasons - both merit termination.

But instead, the public has been confronted with minimalism of such malfeasances while these two examples are either still on payroll, or been promoted.

What article doesn't mention here is where incident surrounding Karen Flores hasn't done a whole lot to garner the public's confidence in how financial discrepancies will be alleviated in the future, other than hiring a more credentialed person to replace her position as a business manager.

In a world where we're supposed to believe someone is innocent until proven guilty - the question remains during the Flores trial, perhaps, as to what the level of oversight, guidance, and discretionary direction the police business management department benefits under the CAO's office.. an executive office headed by master's degrees - by contrast to Flores' city college business administration certification.

The parking office continues to impose questionable collection practices against the elderly and disabled .. yet members of the public have already experienced stonewalling by the CAO and City Council on such topics that make this venue to address concerns incondusive to the perception of personal privacy, trust with staff, or the ability of the Council to moderate against these discrepancies anyway - if the general climate within these teams are that there isn't a need for improvement, rather, portray a diminutive acceptance with policy that, 'this is just the way we do things around here' and not to, "politicize."

There are other peripheral challenges as well yet to be mentioned in this forum. The above merits attention however, if the Council thinks the public can hope to have their grievances heard.

SantaNa (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2012 at 9:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Regarding the last comment by Murillo: I am not sure many in the general public would really want the spotlight of bad mouthing the SBPD in a public forum. I believe our elected officials are supposed to be the voice of the people. I light of the recent shenanigans pulled by the SBPD and its employees, I would like to see the city council grow a pair and put some pressure on the SBPD. Who really runs this city? Seems to me it is the POA, not Sanchez, Armstrong or the City council. I applaud the efforts regarding recruiting locals, and the cameras in the cars for some accountability.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2012 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry, Bimbo, but the public speaking out about the Police Chief or any other city official during a public city council meeting is exactly when and where they should make their views known, there, in front of Gaia and Everybody, and the elected city council who then would have no excuse not to know what was going on.
Sunshine remains the best disinfectant, which is why we still have government decisions and deliberations made in public.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2012 at 6:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gang activity is way down? You've got to be kidding. All you have to do is look at the daily reports of knifings, gang fights in parking lots, and other obviously gang-related activity to realize that the gang problem is seriously out of control. Those aren't seniors or soccer moms out there jamming switchblades into each other. Get real.

OwenDell (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2012 at 6:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here, here!

It's way past time for the City Council to have the power to hire & fire the Chief of Police. This can't get initiated soon enough!

Barron (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2012 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

John-Adams: We've had a policy for police oversight in SB for decades. It's been demonstrated recently against the victims of Beutel's crimes against community members who publicly acknowledged the truth, and we have no reason to believe anything's change for the better in recent months. The policy is that City Attorney Wiley and/or the DA and/or SBPD file malicious charges or harass or file claims for questionable damages against those who acknowledge misconduct. We've had a DA who refuses to file charges against cops for nearly thirty years, and a county council who has refused to file charges of abuse of office against the DA (Sneddon, re his filing malicious charges against Gary Danby, his opponent in the DA election) in the past.
There are other reasons I think Murillo's idea isn't realistic, but the bottom line, I think, is - what's the purpose in reporting police misconduct to a city government that's no different from SBPD in destroying records, ignoring FOIA requests, and avoiding transparency, and that has consistently made policy decisions, including supporting the misrepresentation of California law, to benefit law enforcement at the expense of the community.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When you testify to something in public, it becomes part of the public record. The public who are present are witnesses to the testimony. Hence the added value of public testimony over private griping and innuendo.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2012 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok: Good point. If you or Cathy Murillo can afford the cost of defense against retaliation, go for it. I can't, because I'm still paying for the approx. $10K for legal defense against charges that the DA investigated for 6 months, plus 2 related civil actions, that were dismissed when they got to court because there was no evidence in a sheriff's report that was filed by a person with no standing to file a complaint. Among other costs, paying attorney fees made me unable to pay for my health insurance, which can't be reinstated once it lapses. I'm physically disabled, but SB county violates the federal Older Americans Act by refusing to acknowledge that physically disabled and mentally disabled people are explicitly mentioned in the OAA as a class entitled to legal defense against financial and emotional abuse. I'd go for it if anyone who had access to the public record agreed to pay any costs that resulted, but I;m a "very low income" person, and I can't. In any case, historically we've had no oversight on SBPD, and we currently have no oversight on SBPD. Tom Parker has skills and experience and an incredible track record, and I don't think there's anyone with better credentials. but he has no authority to change SB's status quo at present, and it also seems that he's not aware that McGrew and POA are more of a problem than Sanchez.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 22, 2012 at 10:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's hard for me to agree with anything that seems to echo Santa Barbara News-Press editorials.

Sorry--the publication has no credibility, and while I think the PD has some questions to answer, I trust them more than Wendy's agenda-ized employees.

ahem (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2012 at 12:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

14noscams brings up and excellent point: While the old saying "innocent until proven guilty" is supposed to be the way it is, what actually seems to happen is that once one is accused of whatever crime/infraction they will then have to go thru a financial gauntlet to prove this assumed innocence. This seems similar to the financial destruction Wendy stalling and thrashing people with giant lawsuits causes. While one can get court costs back in civil cases, does this ever happen when a cop makes something up? I have never heard of the DA coughing up court costs after a case.
Putting the city council in charge of cops is the way to go. What is this a police state run by the POA? I would go one step further and dissolve the POA.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2012 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Another great advantage of "putting the city council in charge of cops" is that when anyone on the city council or their friends or family commits a crime, their offenses will simply disappear or get fixed because the city council is in charge of the cops.


John_Adams (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2012 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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