The Isla Vista Foot Patrol announced Friday that it has appointed Senior Deputy James McKarrell the first ever IV Community Resource Deputy (CRD) to serve in the unincorporated college town.
As a CRD, McKarrell will serve as a liaison between the police force, students, and community leaders. He hopes to build the trust that is often lacking in local police-civilian relations by providing a communication channel through which both parties might achieve common goals for the community.
“I believe that the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the community can be strengthened through communication, education, trust and commitment,” McKarrell said in a press release. “I want the students to know that everyone in a uniform is not out to get them.”
McKarrell’s first priority as CRD is to develop an educational program covering both the legal and personal ramifications of alcohol overconsumption. He plans to arrange presentations with local organizations, such as fraternities and other campus groups, to ensure the program reaches residents all over IV. In addition to alcohol-specific issues, he promises to tackle sexual assault and vandalism.
Before his appointment, McKarrell spent six years on patrol in Carpinteria and most recently served as a court bailiff. “James brings a wealth of experience to the position, and a true desire to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the wonderful people we protect,” said Foot Patrol Lieutenant Rob Plastino in the release.
Plastino calls the fight to fund a CRD a “grassroots effort” by the community that took substantial perseverance. Cities typically fund CRDs for their local police forces, but as an unincorporated county area, Isla Vista had to jump through a couple extra hoops. After first securing funds from the County Board of Supervisors, Foot Patrol then had to ensure the sheriff would allocate those funds to their department.
According to Plastino, the CRD position will also prove helpful in maintaining the local spirit of change and accountability spurred by the riots, shootings, and numerous assaults of the past year. “In order to really maintain that momentum, you need someone who can be focused on that 100 percent,” he said. “To really give the community what it needs, it has to be a full effort toward that.”