UCSB students and Isla Vista residents with public safety concerns regarding Halloween 2003 have an opportunity to question authority – and enjoy free food – at a town hall-style meeting this Thursday, Oct. 23.

At 6:00 p.m., Lt. Tom McKinny of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, Capt. Cliff Williams of the California Highway Patrol, a representative from the UC Police Dept. and UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris will meet in the Isla Vista Theater to discuss their roles in local law enforcement.

An open microphone will allow community members to address questions to “the people directly responsible for enforcing public safety restrictions,” said Scott Talkov, chair of the Associated Students Commission on Public Safety (ASCPS), which is sponsoring the event.

“On Halloween, Isla Vista historically has a lot of unrest and an elevated crime rate,” Talkov said. “Being on a Friday this year, residents are expecting numerous out-of-towners, which could lead to problems.”

Talkov said meeting participants are encouraged to mingle with law enforcement authorities over free Woodstock’s pizza, Freebirds burritos, Sam’s To Go sandwiches and drinks from Isla Vista Market, all of which were donated to the ASCPS at a reduced cost.

“The better students and police can understand each other’s expectations, the smoother Halloween will go,” Talkov said. “We hope that this dialogue continues outside of these meetings and that students are able to make a personal connection with these officials.”

The Isla Vista Community Relations Committee and A.S. Finance Board provided a total of $470 to cover meeting expenses, Talkov said, and the Pulse Copy & Technology Center reproduced advertising fliers for free.

A similar public safety town hall meeting last May was very successful and drew a good turnout, Talkov said. For Thursday’s meeting, Talkov said he is expecting 80 to 100 people. He said he hopes attendees will ask questions regarding the deployment of horse-mounted police on Halloween night, statistics regarding sexual assaults and information on changes to party and noise ordinances.

“We’re trying to promote a safe and fun Halloween,” Talkov said.