On the third Thursday of every month, I participate in the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization’s safety committee meetings, where we discuss the issues of maintaining the well-being of our downtown corridor. One of the most committed participants at these meetings is Kasi Beutel, who can usually be found patrolling State Street in her job as a Santa Barbara Police Department officer.
I didn’t know much about Kasi before asking her to answer this questionnaire, but I’ve always been impressed by her single-minded devotion to safekeeping the businesses, visitors, and locals on our main artery. Utilizing her close relationships with community members to strengthen police effectiveness, Kasi’s cooperative efforts make Santa Barbara a safer place.
After starting her professional life as an accountant for about 10 years, Kasi decided in her early thirties to make a career change and join the police academy. She was driven to do something that “would better this world our children are going to inherit.”
Today, she lives in the Conejo Valley and is married to Officer Mark Corbett, and together they share five children (three are hers from a previous relationship, and two are his). In her free time, she volunteers at elementary and middle schools, teaching kids about stranger danger, cyberbullying, and any other topic that’s needed.
She took time out from her schedule to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The day that I had my badge pinned on. The police academy was very hard for me. I missed my children desperately, and, even now looking back on it, I wonder how I made it through. I love being a police officer and would do it all over again if I had to, but, boy, am I glad that I don’t …
What is it you like most about your job?
That is such a complicated question. I say this is the hardest and best job I could ever have. I love serving my community and the sense of pride that I have in doing a job that is worthwhile. I like the camaraderie and family that I have with every other person who wears a badge, and I like when citizens who appreciate what I do say, “Thank you.” I feel grateful every day that I get to do this job, and, even on the hardest days, I am thankful.
What is the quality you most like in people?
I really appreciate when someone is able to listen without judging and simply live what they preach. I have a few friends who are such good people that I learn so much from by simply being with them.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Gosh, this is a hard one. I dislike people who cannot take responsibility for their actions. Nobody is perfect, but what a different world this would be if more people could simply admit when they make a mistake and apologize for it.
What do you most value in friends?
I most value my friends who understand my crazy, hectic lifestyle and find time to spend with me anyways. I am so grateful for the friends that I have who love me despite all of my flaws.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My always-on-the-go personality. I am always planning and scheduling, whether it is for my parents, my children, or my job. I usually have a calendar that spans the better part of 12 months with schedules for every one of my five children and then some. I think back to a Mother’s Day card one of my children gave me so many years ago, one with prompts from the teacher, and it said, “You don’t like to …” My son’s response regarding me was: “… do nothing.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Oh, I was lucky enough to have this over my holiday break: my family, all seven of us, together at a small ranch riding horses, playing board games, and just spending some simple quiet time together.
What is your greatest fear?
I am a mom before anything, so really my greatest fear is about losing one of my children or something happening to me when they are young and still need me. The driving force in my life is always trying to better my children’s lives and make sure they are happy and secure.
Whom do you most admire?
I most admire my daughter, Nadia. She is 18 years old, a freshman in college, and so sure of who she is and her path in life. She is the kindest person I know, has a depth of character that is beyond her years, and morals that guide her to “do the right thing.” When I am struggling with a situation or feeling frustrated with circumstances beyond my control, she often reminds me of what is important with just a few simple words.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I would say live theater. I love, love, love going to live theater and have several season ticket memberships. I am in awe of some of the talent that I get to see on the stage and am often brought to tears by the emotion that I get to experience in live theater. I am lucky enough to have a husband who also loves live theater, so I always have a date to go with.
What is your current state of mind?
Currently, I am in a great place. Every year my resolution is the same: to relax, de-stress, take deep breaths, and be present in each moment. I have to actively work at this because, in my line of work, it is very easy to bring my work home and affect my family. My goal every year is to increase my peace and optimism and savor the very few quiet moments I find.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“So I have to tell you …” No really, I asked my family this question, and I was told that I use, “So I have to tell you …” before most of my stories.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to have the ability to know exactly what to say in any situation. I have always been envious of people who know just the right thing to say at just the right time. I often feel at a loss for words and end up filling the space with too many of the wrong words, only to think of just the right thing to say 15 minutes later.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My metabolism. But seriously, I would love to be able to relax more. I am fairly high-strung and have about 100 projects going most of the time. It is hard for me to relax and just appreciate the moments.
Where would you most like to live?
I am going to break tradition here and not say Santa Barbara. I would most like to live on a ranch where I could sit on my porch in a rocking chair, ride horses, have space for my children and grandchildren to run around and, of course, ride horses. I grew up in an area that only had one paved road and a feeling of neighborhood and community. This to me is blissful simplicity and happiness.
What is your most treasured possession?
I am going to say my hope chest; it is filled with all my children’s projects, cards, and artwork from school. When I have had a particularly hard week, or have just forgotten about how very blessed I am, I simply have to spend some time looking at these treasures to remember.
Who makes you laugh the most?
My husband, Mark. He is seriously the funniest person I know. Mark makes everyone in our house laugh, and the kids can often be found relaying his funny stories or asking him to tell them over and over.
What is your motto?
God never gives us more than we can handle. Also, by Henry James: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”