Law enforcement in Isla Vista is getting some help starting this fall, as the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) launches a new community safety program. Board president Ethan Bertrand and interim general manager Jonathan Abboud announced the new plan at a press conference on Tuesday. Starting the night of Friday, October 27, the UCSB Police Department will provide student Community Service Organization officers (CSOs) to staff the mobile “Isla Vista Safety Stations.” One station will be present in Isla Vista every weekend night throughout the school year.
“Isla Vista has wanted something like this for a long time,” Abboud said on Tuesday.
The CSOs will escort any community member home who lives on campus or in Isla Vista and will offer additional assistance to anyone who approaches. In addition to improving individual safety, Abboud said that it would also improve community relations, as CSOs will be “a nonenforcement service.” CSOs do not have weapons or the power to issue citations.
For its first run at Little Acorn Park on Friday, seven CSOs will be on duty. Two will staff the station, one will be working as a dispatcher from UCSB police headquarters, and the remaining four will be serving as escorts. While official hours have not yet been set, the station will generally be operating between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
“This shows the level of commitment UCPD has to community policing for our campus community and Isla Vista,” Lieutenant David Millard said at the press conference.
In the future, the Community Services District may explore the option of having multiple safety stations in Isla Vista.
UCSB is funding $47,000 for the new program, which comes out of the annual $200,000 budget the university offers to the IVCSD. The board of directors is currently seeking additional funding for the program, which is open to anyone in the community, including people not enrolled at UCSB.