Santa Barbara County law enforcement is unified in their goal of maintaining peace and order throughout the county as they support public health authorities in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, stated Sheriff Bill Brown in a letter signed on behalf of the members of the Santa Barbara County Law Enforcement Chiefs Association.
Brown reiterated the Public Health Order issued on March 19 by the state public health officer, requiring all people living in California to stay home or at their place of residence until further notice.
“It is imperative that our agencies maintain a unified approach in enforcing this important order that has been issued for the safety and well-being of those who live and work in the communities we serve,” wrote Brown. “We have great concern and empathy for those who are experiencing frustration, financial loss, heightened anxiety and fear during these troubling times.”
Although the public health order can be enforced through citations or arrests if violated, the sheriff noted that law enforcement chiefs are “encouraging our personnel to educate the public and exercise discretion in obtaining voluntary compliance. Our enforcement posture with members of our communities will be one of collaboration and the encouragement of voluntary compliance whenever possible.”
Fighting crime will also continue to be a priority for law enforcement. “Make no mistake, however,” stated Brown, “in understanding that we will be steadfast and diligent in seeking out and bringing to justice criminal offenders who attempt to take advantage of this situation.”