The City of Santa Barbara is working on major initiatives of communitywide importance involving racial justice in law enforcement. The City welcomes and encourages community engagement and participation in the decision-making process. To encourage civic engagement, we are providing the following updates:

Community Formation Commission

The Santa Barbara City Council is inviting members of the community to apply to the City’s Community Formation Commission (“CFC”) to recommend to City Council on the need for and type(s) of a civilian police review system for the Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD). The CFC will explore different models of civilian police review and examine how each may address the needs of Santa Barbara’s unique communities.

The City Council seeks a diverse group of people to represent the community by serving on the CFC. The Council wants the membership of the CFC to be broad-based and inclusive.  U.S. citizenship is not required. To apply for membership on the Commission, please visit You may also sign up at to receive email notifications when Commission agendas are published.

Racial Justice and Equity Initiatives

As part of its adoption of the City’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, City Council directed City staff to undertake the following work efforts:

1.    Conduct a Resource Allocation Study of the Police Department to identify activities that could be shifted from the Police Department to other entities, including the potential creation of additional positions within the City organization related to mental health, social and homeless services, and/or code enforcement;

2.    Develop a path toward the development of a Black African American Cultural Resource Center;

3.    Evaluate and identify ways to streamline the current process for permitting special events;

4.    Develop a Co-Response Agreement between County of Santa Barbara and the Police Department: a team comprised of a police officer and a County behavioral wellness mobile crisis worker evaluates people in crisis, with an emphasis in attempting to de-escalate potentially volatile situations. The Co-Response Officer may provide transportation for individuals experiencing mental crisis to community-based facilities for evaluation, treatment, rather than arrest, when possible; and,

5.    Evaluate the feasibility of moving Parking Enforcement from the Police Department to the Downtown Parking Division of the Public Works Department.

Please visit for more information and to receive email notifications on the progress of these work efforts.

Special Event Guidelines

The City has developed proposed guidelines and a draft ordinance to clarify special events permit requirements, enhance customer service for event organizers, and streamline the permit review and approval process.  The Ordinance Committee is scheduled to review the recommendations on October 27.  The proposed guidelines will be posted in mid-October. 


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