Carpinteria’s City Council discussed next steps to support furthering racial equity and justice within local law enforcement (contracted with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office), city policies and through engagement with stakeholders and community groups.
City staff identified three principal areas for improvement that the Council approved for further study: Ensuring that all law enforcement personnel receive appropriate racial sensitivity training; Endeavoring to have demographic diversity represented among law enforcement personnel in Carpinteria, including corresponding language fluency and; Increasing data sharing, analysis and transparency.
In response, Sheriff Bill Brown stated: “Myself and all of us in the Sheriff’s Office unequivocally denounce and condemn racism, police brutality and white supremacy. There is no room for any of those in how we police or in this society. We strive to ensure that none of those are in our community… We in the Sheriff’s Office protect everyone in our community… Don’t let what happened in Minneapolis define or discredit our Sheriff’s Office.”
Brown also stated that all Sheriff’s Office deputies receive instruction in implicit bias and racial considerations during their initial training and are required to continue to take courses throughout their career. At present, all Sheriff’s Office deputies and office personnel are required to complete a state of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training course on bias and racial programming by Aug. 14.
In terms of law enforcement reflecting the diversity of the population, Brown argued, they were “pretty close,” noting that 49 percent of Carpinteria’s population is white; 45 percent is Hispanic; 6 percent is other races/ethnicities and less than 1 percent is black. Of the 22 deputies assigned to and working in the city, 12 (54 percent) are white, seven (32 percent) are Hispanic, and two (9 percent) are of other races/ethnicities (in this case, Pacific Islander and Middle Eastern) and one (5 percent) is black. Eight of the 22 (35 percent) are Spanish speaking.
For increased data collection and analysis, Brown stated that he has been “sounding the alarm” for a long time, asking the county for a budget line to acquire technology and hire a data analyst staff member to analyze and mine the data. “We don’t have a robust enough system in technology or people to be able to do as deep a dive as I would like to and to be as transparent as I’d like to be,” he stated. “We can do it, but it’s a very archaic and tedious process. We have to pull people off of the tasks they are doing to mine by hand the data. My hope is for the community to support this in the budget in the future.”