The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization donated $20,000 to the cash-strapped City of Santa Barbara to defray the cost of rehiring retired beat cop Bob Casey to help maintain a more robust police presence on State Street. The Downtown Organization has long complained that panhandlers, drunks, and street people have been chasing tourists and residents out of downtown Santa Barbara, and has been offering to underwrite Casey’s salary almost since he retired late last year. A quintessential foot and bike patrol officer, Casey was well-liked and well-respected by State Street merchants and homeless advocates alike. Though far from a bleeding heart, Casey frequently went well beyond the call of duty to find housing and services for street people in need of help. Casey will work part-time in his latest incarnation, and the $20,000 gift will be matched by a similar amount by the Downtown Parking Fund. Casey’s employment is consistent with the 12-point program adopted by the council last February to deal with homelessness.


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