Of the 140 sworn officer now working for the Santa Barbara Police Department, 16 live in the City of Santa Barbara, 17 are from Goleta, 18 from Noleta, and 21 from Ventura. Fifty-eight live on the South Coast, 38 in Ventura County, and 34 in Santa Barbara County north of the Gaviota tunnel. A handful live as far away as North Hollywood, Riverside, or Alta Dena.
This information was elicited after Chief Cam Sanchez announced last week his intention to focus on cultivating recruits from Santa Barbara itself. No data is readily available as to how many officers now serving were originally from Santa Barbara; Sgt. Riley Harwood indicated many of them no longer reside here.
But more than a handful do. Because of the high cost of housing, Harwood noted, an increasing percentage of sworn officers live in other communities. Because so many members of the department’s 22-person SWAT team — as well as crisis negotiation team — live outside the immediate metropolitan area, it typically takes SWAT about an hour to assemble at the police station for deployment elsewhere. That’s not a problem, stated Harwood, because patrol officers, supervisors, and managers have often already managed to stabilize the scene.