Police Chief Cam Sanchez

Paul Wellman

Police Chief Cam Sanchez

Cam Faces His Critics

Police Chief Takes on Racial Profiling, Burglary Spree, and Prison Diversion

Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez emphatically denied his officers engaged in “racial profiling,” as was alleged by neighborhood activist Dorothy Littlejohn after the chief made his monthly presentation to the City Council this Tuesday. “The words ‘racial profiling’ make me ill,” Sanchez stated. “Racial profiling is illegal. It is something not tolerated by me.” Sanchez all but said that any officer found to engage in such activity would be terminated. But not one allegation of such profiling, he said, has been substantiated during his 13 years as top cop.

Littlejohn, a longtime community activist with ties to pro-immigrant rights organizations like PUEBLO, charged that city cops hung out in the parking lots of Westside businesses frequented by Mexican immigrants ​— ​like Super Cucas, Fernando’s Market, or Foodland ​— ​so they could pull over Mexican nationals for driving without a license and impound their vehicles. Sanchez said his officers are deployed in those locations because they have well-documented traffic safety issues. He took exception to Littlejohn’s accusation, countering that his officers helped little kids in the neighborhood cross the streets during times of maximum traffic congestion and risk.

Although the chief has been making monthly reports to the council for more than a year, this was the first time his critics showed up to voice such concerns. Before Sanchez spoke, councilmembers heard from a couple of Latino rights activists who took exception to the proposed gang injunction that Sanchez is now promoting. The fate of that injunction ​— ​which has targeted 30 current or former gang members ​— ​remains uncertain, pending Judge Thomas Adams’s determination whether the juvenile records of the 30 named defendants can be admitted as evidence in support of the injunction. Juvenile records, however, are exceptionally confidential.

Sanchez notified councilmembers there had been a 9-percent increase in “gang incidents” between last November and December. Gang incidents, however, are loosely categorized and can include public intoxication citations of gang members while not engaged in any form of gang activity. Councilmember Cathy Murillo ​— ​no fan of the gang injunction ​— ​commented, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.”

In other crime stats, the chief noted that the more serious and threatening “Type I” crimes dropped slightly from November to December, but that the city experienced a spate of residential burglaries in November and December. “It’s a huge deal,” the chief declared. Sanchez expressed unhappiness that his officers have yet to make any arrests for any of the burglaries that took place in December. He was equally unhappy that half of the people arrested for burglaries in November would have been behind bars were it not for AB 109, the state bill designed to keep nonviolent inmates out of state prisons and put them in county jails instead. AB 109 was enacted in part to save the state some of the high costs of incarceration and also to reduce the intense overcrowding at state penal facilities.

Chief Sanchez expressed satisfaction at the large number of Latino residents enrolling to participate in the department’s Community Academy, about twice as many as their Anglo counterparts, he said. This week’s Academy graduation ceremony, he noted, will include an 18-year-old, as well as an 84-year-old. Next month, the chief said the department will host its Academy classes somewhere on the Westside. For the first time, he added, the classes would be held in both Spanish and English at the same time, as part of a community-building process.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Could we PLEASE get a real police chief?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Looks like Chief Cam is increasingly widening his definition of a "gang crime" in order to report a myth that such crime keeps increasing and to continue fomenting fear that a gang injunction is still practical and cost-effective.

If drunk in public is now a gang crime as the chief just included in his vague report to the city council, then a majority of Santa Barbarians and our tourist$ are guilty of being gangsters.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

They're coming to get you Barbara. Look! There's one of them now!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If the injunction works, why is there an increase?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok is missing the point with the above comment.

We have no gang injunction and yet real gang crime (excluding "other crime") is decreasing. Thus, conservative fiscal hawks and everyone else may ask again why is the City of Santa Barbara continuing to spend now close to a million dollars on this boondoggle.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah I realized that after my halfcaffeinated second post.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If you arrest any Latino on the West Side it must be racial profiling? J_L, you can stop worrying about spending money that we do not have to stop crime, Jerry Brown announced California is back in the black...problem solved.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 5:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yep, if Moonbeam says so, then it must be true.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gang Injunctions don't work.

Juliosb (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Except that Police Chiefs who use them disagree and the numbers prove they work as a part of a comprehensive program. But of course Juliosb, that does not matter as we're all just racist and prefer to arrest any brown guy walking down the street.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 4:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you believe they work then move to LA they have several injunctions to protect you against these brown people...if this really worked LA would be a paradise but it's not we all know gang crime still exists and not much has changed there before and after there installments. You have any proof they work? And this doesn't have to do about race, it's about spending money on something that will have little effect on solving the problem

Juliosb (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

“Councilmember Cathy Murillo — no fan of the gang injunction”

Such a shocking revelation! A child of a gang member is against an injunction that would no doubt significantly impact the criminal enterprises performed by gang members. I’m (not) astonished. This statement alone probably underscores Murillo’s struggle with the gangster lifestyle:

“Murillo, who grew up in East Los Angeles, said her father was involved in a street gang, something that she struggled with for many years.”

“Gang Injunctions don't work. Juliosb”

I think the most local and glaring example that injunctions DO WORK is in Lompoc. I believe everyone in the City of Lompoc has a differing opinion than you do Juliosb; everyone except the gang members that have been served said-injunction. (Tsk, tsk.)

“If you believe they work then move to LA they have several injunctions to protect you against these brown people-Juliosb”

My oh my Julio, you seem to be quite the race baiter, PUEBLO (Or whatever they’re called now) could use a few more blowhards if you’re looking for a job. It astonishes me how race is made a factor by the gang members and other true racists, however, there is not a shred of proof provided.

Juliosb also demonstrates that he must not have been alive, or was oblivious to the 1970’s, and 1980’s to mid-1990’s of what was happening in Los Angeles.

Here Julio, take a look at this:

Of course the stats come from “Big Brother” and the drop in gang murders also happens to coincide with increased use of gang teams (Cops focusing gangs) and those cops working in harmony with City attorney’s at securing GANG INJUNCTIONS. Los Angeles has achieved very significant success using injunctions, along with numerous other communities around the State and Nation.

It should also be noted that during the successful, initial applications of gang injunctions in Los Angeles, Tom Bradley was Mayor.

Clearly Mayor Bradley was a racist that hated all gang members, regardless of their color.

Maybe Ms. Murillo should take note that her duty is to the public and not to her former/current ties to the underworld and extremist racist groups that propagate race baiting at public meetings and forums. But then again, Ms. Murillo clearly wants to put her UCSB degree in “Dramatic Art” to good use.

ClayT (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The gang murder stat link for Los Angeles. Too long for the Independent comment box, just cut and paste carefully the three parts into browser. Sorry for the FACTS Juliosb.......

Anyhow folks, those of you without an AGENDA will get the picture.

ClayT (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Clay T, I'd rather have a town full of gangsters if the alternative is people like you.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Juliosb-please move to Helena Montana, I do not think they have a gang injunction so you will be happy there as we revel in our racist, money wasting effort that works in mitigating crime. Besides and as posted, Governor Brown announced that California is solvent and in the black so we can begin spending money once again, even on social programs without any metrics whatsoever...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 5 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While I'm no fan of Sanchez, and have called for his ouster before, he is correct in countering the charge that "city cops hung out in the parking lots of Westside businesses frequented by Mexican immigrants ​— ​like Super Cucas, Fernando’s Market, or Foodland ​— ​so they could pull over Mexican nationals for driving without a license and impound their vehicles. "
I live not far from Super Cucas (#1) and Foodland, and I'm glad the city cops are about because the area is unsafe after dark. I've witnessed some minor gang fights there, there was heavy heroin dealing on Cook Avenue there (documented in the Indie), the population density is very high, and we need a police presence. Furthermore, the traffic situation next to Cucas, on Micheltorena St., is scary with many children running across the street, skateboarders, bikers, cars charging out of the alley there... why the heck doesn't Murillo press for a stoplight and painted crosswalks right there at Cucas?! It is absolutely unsafe, and to paraphrase the D. Day Lewis movie, there will be blood.
Idea: BRING BACK THE BICYCLE COPS and the sub-station that was there before: cheaper than the gang injunction and arguably more effective. Oh yeah, it's the Westside so...who gives a dang?!
I'm still unsure about the gang injunction and its effectiveness, and am reading up on it.
Clay T I think you need to move to LA; your comments are despicable about Ms. Murillo, they are actionable, and I'm surprised the Indie lets them sit on this thread.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 8:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with DrDan, community policing is necessary, and people should feel safe to talk to the police and their concerns should be taken into consideration. The injunction only creates more alienation, and will not solve the real problems in this town. Considering the history of LA policing is where the problem began and was excarcebated. It is much easier to further corruption by having an us and them, and these neighborhoods have always been about seperating the rich and poor. Its okay if gang members congregate at the Westside Square but not at Coast Village. It's okay for the prostitution and drugs to be on Haley but not on the Riviera. All these things affect all of us, not just the people who live in those areas, and locking everyone up is not the answer because the state cannot afford it.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 8:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear Cathy, we've met a few times, and I live across the street from our friend Sue near Foodland.
In this week's Indie article on Cam Sanchez, in the online "thread" below it (mostly about the controversial gang injunction) you have gotten some nasty comments by a pseudonymous jerk. Aside from that, there really IS a traffic problem right there at Cuca's - just half-block up Micheltorena St. toward the bridge.
Three ideas: 1) our children NEED a painted crosswalk right at that alley at Cuca's AND a stoplight there. I have personally seen dozens of small kids race across the street there dodging bikes/cars/peds/skateboarders.
2) bring back the bicycle cops (we once had them here) as well as the police substation that was also here...cheaper than the gang injunction.
3) children in our highly congested Westside, esp on the ocean side of the Fwy, need more green space to play in. I once mentioned to Salud Carbajal how with negotiation the City should get its hands on the VAST and under-used church parking lot over close to Fernando's Market and turn it into another branch of the (western) Westside boys/girls club or whatever... There are never any cars in this huge lot (forget the cross street) except on Sunday a.m.!
I am a schoolteacher.
Sincerely, DrDan [sent this also to her office]

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ClayT states published facts and they "ARE ACTIONABLE"? After writing a post with 90% reasonable common sense DD you finish with weird and nutty fantasy? It's apparent that you like Ms. Murillo and your suggestion that the Indy should sanction a counter opinion seems kinda' unAmerican and rather hilarious.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 2:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The ugly attack on Murillo is NOT based on published facts but pure ignorant fantasy and such attacks and the people who make them who be called out and publicly ridiculed at every opportunity. I.e. they are total morons to be polite.
How many racists marry outside their race?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No agenda here Clay T,, I just like it safe to walk the streets,,, criminals come in all colors,,, local police have failed everywhere,, it's time to rethink the problem of organized crime.

oldtimer (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 3:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

hey, showing your true colors, eh Italians? this phrase, "her former/current ties to the underworld and extremist racist groups that propagate race baiting" is actionable with the term "current". Neither of us are lawyers. Your defense of ClayT shows a lot about you.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 3:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like DrDan's suggestions, especially the need for cops who get to know the people in the neighborhood.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 3:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Passing more laws doesn't address root causes. It's already against the law to intimidate, stab, rob, or murder people. Enforce the laws already on the book to prosecute the gang problem and deal with the root causes. Of course dealing with the root causes isn't something people want to face and even mentioning them on this thread would probably get my post deleted.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

gosh, Bill, root causes is pretty complex...we could shift to the gun control thread or... breakdown of the family, disrespect for authentic authority, lack of civility, especially economic inequality (see J. Stiglitz, THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY), lack of grit and an ethos of hard, its a lot.
But more community policing, bicycle cops etc., would be a very good start.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with DrDan's agreeing with me about agreeing with him about more community policing.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 4:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That's why I made the comment that 90+% of DD's string was sensible until he started smoking crack again. OH MY GAWD, is that actionable?
Community policing on the Westside is exactly what is needed; I hope the Progressives are prepared for the fact that a ton of Mexicans will be arrested and it will look like racial profiling.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 6:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ah, the Italian stallion cracks up again! No, I don't know Ms. Murillo, have said "hello" to her once in passing on the street.
Sure, since well over 60% of us Westsiders are of Latino extraction then a higher percentage of those arrested will be Mexican-Americans.
Nice to know, Italiansurg, that you think it's a "weird and nutty fantasy" to try to obtain the only large open space on this Westside for playing area for kids here. Clearly, you don't live over here, understand little about children, and that you may have been hitting the chianti a little too hard.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 7:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Your comprehension level is slipping again. I agreed with everything in your post except the weird and nutty crap about Clay's comments being actionable, I guess because of some implied defamation.
While some of your requests about the Westside won't make a difference in my opinion, they were and are worthy of consideration and discussion.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 9:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

so italian after looking over your stats that you choose to have given on LA's homicides the last 3 decades here is what i can summarize: Prior to the 1st GI, that was 1987, there was an avg. of 257 deaths. After the installments of the gang injunction in which there are 44 of them, there has been an avg. death of 553. so an increase of homicides is what you bring to the table then yes GI's work in bringing more homicides.

Juliosb (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 5:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

to my prior statement i refer it to clayT not italian, got the names wrong

Juliosb (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Anyone remember that the monthly Cam Show was instituted to provide updates on SBPD's investigation of corruption and unnecessary use of force involving Kasi Beutel's forgeries and perjuries and Aron Tudor's violent attack on Toni Denuncio? City hall's support of police misconduct against SB residents is insane. We have a mayor and city council who refuse to acknowledge that they're paid to represent city residents, not city employees.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You gotta go to Council Meetings and participate in positive ways.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 11:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And if you talk individually to councilmembers approach them the same way you would want to be approached by someone with a valid concern, not like a screaming nut.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 11:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Council members and the mayor need to stop the gang injunction, and cam Sanchez to do some studies before he decides to implement a gang injunction.

Juliosb (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 2:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Council meets every Tuesday evening.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 2:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Apparently only Noozhawk is bothering to report that Chief Camerino made a Big Phat Blunder in his imagined crime stats and had his minions issue a clarification/excuse/asscovering.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok: Check the big picture here - if Santa Barbara city government acknowledged citizen input Welsh wouldn't have written this article because Sanchez would have been long gone.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

14noscams is following the Mrs. Self theory of democracy that if certain points of view are not totally accepted by at-large elected officials then those officials, city council members, and the like just are not LISTENING because if only they listened or acknowledged some narrow points of view then they must then be fully correct on what all the public wants and needs.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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