Santa Barbara Police Department | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

After adopting a new system of civilian oversight for the city’s police department in October, the Santa Barbara City Council officially selected the five members who will sit on the board — a reconstituted version of the current Fire and Police Commission — starting January 1, 2023.

Selected from a pool of more than 20 applicants, the new commissioners will be Linda Esparza Dozer, Lizzie Rodriguez, Ana Zepeda, Dan Herlinger, and Gary Jon Hill.

Dozer is a former FBI agent who has served as Santa Barbara City College’s Title IX Coordinator since 2019. She is one of three Latina women appointed to the board.

Rodriguez has extensive experience working with incarcerated youth and has served on several related commissions both at the city and at Santa Barbara City College, where she teaches and was selected to serve on the Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Resolution Committee. She previously served on the Fire and Police Commission and was selected as the board’s vice chair in 2020.

“This is a really great group, and I’m really proud the council appointed three Latinas,” Rodriguez said. “I look forward to getting down to it and looking at what the data tells us and figuring out what we do with that info.”

Rodriguez added that there was already a comprehensive audit being conducted in the S.B. Police Department that will serve as a baseline to find out how well the department is currently doing with following its own policies and state law enforcement protocol, as well as exactly how many positions — and which ones — are vacant.

Zepeda is a newcomer to the scene but has worked extensively in community advocacy, primarily focused on youth and young adults who are currently or formerly incarcerated. She was part of the precursor to the commission — the Community Formation Commission — and is looking to build on her sociology education at UCSB by becoming a civil rights lawyer.

Herlinger has a background as a health-care executive and worked as a senior associate with a management consulting firm that specializes in planning services for hospitals, medical groups, and physicians. He previously served as president and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West Central Coast and on boards of the Santa Barbara Channels, CenCal Health, and Santa Barbara’s Rental Housing Mediation Task Force.

Hill is a former attorney who specialized in arbitration and mediation with a focus on business law. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 1974.

Dozer, Rodriguez, and Zepeda received support from every member of the council and were selected to serve four-year terms until December 31, 2026. Herlinger and Hill received votes from Mayor Randy Rowse and Mike Jordan and were chosen to serve two-year terms.

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