The Santa Barbara Police Dept. (SBPD) will patrol Isla Vista and downtown Santa Barbara during the Halloween weekend in an effort to treat residents in both places to a holiday free of unexpected tricks and drunk drivers.
The SBPD is joining forces with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) during Halloween weekend to maintain order in I.V and, specifically, to patrol local streets for drunk drivers. Santa Barbara PD Lt. Paul McCaffrey said his department will not have extra officers on duty for the weekend, but will focus its existing force on key locations both downtown and in Isla Vista. If any major problems arise in the downtown area, the SBPD will recall its officers from Isla Vista.
“Should things get out of hand in the city, we’d call back some [officers],” McCaffrey said. “We’re pretty well-versed in these types of problems.”
McCaffrey said the SBPD will lend officers to the IVFP because I.V. is traditionally the busiest location during Halloween. He said the addition of SBPD officers will enable IVFP forces to spread out and completely patrol the area, as well as respond to specific emergencies as they happen.
“A large part of it is being flexible enough to respond to calls. … ” McCaffrey said. “Isla Vista is the main hot spot every year.”
McCaffrey said he also expects to see many costumed revelers downtown and he thinks the SBPD will have to deal with an unusually high number of parties in the area.
“We know there will be an increased number of people in costumes and people downtown as well as an increased number of party calls,” McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey said the department will not have to give its personnel any unusual overtime pay for their work during Halloween weekend since SBPD officers are already used to working overtime.
“It’s not going to cost us,” McCaffrey said. “Cost will be pretty negligible. On any given weekend there’s a 50-50 chance officers have to work late or detectives have to come in.” Jimmy Smit, who owns O’Malley’s Bar downtown, said he thinks the presence of SBPD officers in downtown Santa Barbara will help keep the crowds under control during the holiday weekend.
“I think it’s good to have extra police force,” Smit said. “Their presence might keep people on the streets calm.”
Smit said the increased enforcement in I.V., including the presence of SBPD officers in the area, might help boost his business during the Halloween weekend.
“The enforcement’s pretty tight in IV,” Smit said. “It might force people to come downtown.”
Smit said the owners of many of the downtown bars and restaurants meet with the SBPD once a month to discuss upcoming events. The meetings, he said, help the businesses plan for events as big as Halloween weekend.
“We meet every first Monday of the month,” Smit said. “All the bar and restaurant owners get together with the police department to go over everything so we know what they expect.”
Brian Goodnight, who manages Sharkeez bar in Santa Barbara, said he thinks Halloween weekend could be relatively quiet this year because it falls on a Monday night. Even if Monday is tamer than most Halloween celebrations, downtown bars and restaurants will still require some extra security during the holiday.
“Saturday will be pretty big, maybe Sunday night,” Goodnight said. “I think [the SBPD] might need extra security on Monday — maybe a little more officers than normal.”
Goodnight said he thinks no matter what, many people will spend Halloween in downtown Santa Barbara.
“I expect it will be like last year, pretty much everyone dressing up and getting drunk,” Goodnight said. “I don’t expect to see too much of a problem.”