The Isla Vista Foot Patrol has a new, full-time detective working within the ranks. Detective Julio Gutierrez, a 12-year veteran of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, comes from the Criminal Investigations Division, which typically deals with crimes such as sexual assault, robbery, and homicides.
The assignment of a full-time detective to the area is permanent, according to Foot Patrol Station Lieutenant Ruben Cintron, though the officer assigned may change when Gutierrez is transferred or promoted in the future.
A detective focusing on crimes in I.V. has been a “dream” of the Sheriff’s Office for some time, according to Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover. The decision to assign Gutierrez to the Foot Patrol stems from a history of discussions with I.V. stakeholders on the need for specialized policing in the community, Hoover said.
In the past, whenever a crime such as a sexual assault or robbery occurred in I.V., a detective from the Sheriff’s Office headquarters would go down to I.V. and investigate the crime.
New statistics from the Sheriff’s Office state that violent crimes in I.V. have decreased 19 percent and forcible rapes 26 percent since last year.
The assignment of a full-time detective in I.V. coincides with the increased interest in an officer specialized in sexual assaults from the newly formed Community Services District (CSD). While the CSD had mentioned the possibility of hiring a detective from the UC Police Department who specialized in sexual assault, the assignment from the Sheriff’s Office came as a bit of a surprise, according to two board directors. There were no formal talks between the CSD or the Sheriff’s Office in the assignment, Director Jay Freeman said.
“I am very excited to hear that the Sheriff’s Office has decided to take these issues seriously and to not only provide Isla Vista with this detective position but to have assigned someone who addresses our need for more bilingual officers,” Freeman wrote in a text message.
Freeman also added that this new position will now allow the CSD to refocus its limited budget on other community matters, such as housing.
Policing in I.V. has been a top spending priority for the CSD since its formation. Just last month, the CSD announced a deal with the UC Police Department to expand its Community Service Officers (CSO) program. All CSO program employees are students, and they provide services such as campus security and late-night escorts. Ethan Bertrand, CSD president, reached an agreement with UCPD Chief Dustin Olson to increase CSO presence in I.V. during weekends by placing staffed tents in busy intersections in an effort to make community members more inclined to request escort services.
The initial deal’s price of roughly $120,000 a year would have bitten off most of the CSD’s $200,000 a year budget — money that the district receives from UCSB — but subsequent negotiations have slimmed down the price tag down to $45,000, according to the school’s student paper, the Daily Nexus.
In a press release, Gutierrez said his goal is to “make a difference in the … community.”
Lt. Cintron also said in the release that this “is a much-needed asset” and that it would help the community by “addressing crimes in a more efficient manner.”
The IVFP functions with 12 Sheriff’s deputies, and 7 UCPD officers. It was created in 1971 with the vision of increasing community policing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.