A town hall meeting today at Embarcadero Hall will focus on strengthening lines of communication between UCSB students and local police.
Representatives from the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, California Highway Patrol, UC Police Dept., Office of Student Life and the Associated Students Legal Resource Center will be on hand at 7 p.m. to answer questions related to local public safety.
Scott Talkov, an A.S. Legislative Council representative and founder of the A.S. Commission on Public Safety, said the relationship between students and local police is too often seen as adversarial.
“As the UCSB community currently stands, there is no communication between students and local police officials,” Talkov said. “As a Leg Council member, I started the Commission on Public Safety for the purpose of creating institutionalized communication and respect between students and the local police.”
“[The police] aren’t the boogeyman,” Talkov said. “This forum will be a place where the community feels safe to come and ask questions.”
Talkov said he would like to see better lines of communication between community members and the IVFP, which was recently criticized by a grand jury report on local law enforcement practices. Talkov said there has so far been no forum for issues regarding local public safety.
Lt. Tom McKinny, who will represent the IVFP at tonight’s meeting, said he is open to any suggestions for better communication and relations between UCSB students and local law enforcement.
“I anticipate that some folks who show up will probably be asking questions about why they can’t have a keg on their balcony or why their music has to turn off at midnight,” McKinny said. “I want to try to communicate that we’re not out there to ruin anybody’s fun.”
McKinny said he has never spoken at a town hall meeting, but is looking forward to the opportunity to answer questions.
Since the grand jury report came out last month, McKinny said he has received almost 100 percent support from community members who disagree with the jury’s negative findings of the way IVFP handles local law enforcement. However, he said the station sometimes gets calls from people on busy weekend nights who get angry and scoff that “the grand jury was right” when IVFP is unable to respond to every report of a loud party.
Mark Orfalea, owner of Freebirds restaurant, which is sponsoring the town hall meeting along with Woodstock’s Pizza, said he really liked Talkov’s idea for a forum where community members could question local police.
“We like being part of the community,” Orfalea said. “We’re shipping out 40 burritos over there.”
Woodstock’s Pizza is also providing free food.