Locals looking to throw raging parties in Isla Vista’s parks will be required to invite officers from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. from now on, thanks to a new contract between the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) and the County of Santa Barbara.
During its Feb. 16 meeting, the IVRPD approved a contract with the county that requires event coordinators to work with the district to provide law enforcement officers for any large events held in I.V. parks. IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said officers from the Sheriff’s Dept. will be policing big events in the future, such as the upcoming Island View Classic bicycle race and the annual All-Sorority Volleyball Tournament (ASVT). He said event organizers will pay for the extra security and that he thinks the new policy will help keep large events under control.
In his report to the board, Johnson said the new policy will help event organizers who do not have the background or resources to contract directly with the Sheriff’s Dept. or private security firms. He said the board will act as a mediator between event organizers and the Sheriff’s Dept., and will work out the necessary contracts between the two parties.
“Historically, when staff and the county Sheriff’s Dept. felt that officers were needed, the event organizer would contract directly with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept.,” Johnson said. “However, this proved cumbersome because many organizations do not have a legal corporate structure that allows them to enter into contracts.”
Johnson said he does not think the new system will affect many events in I.V. He said the district will decide whether an event is large enough to require extra policing, and that he thinks the only two events that will be affected by the new rule are the Island View Classic bicycle race and ASVT.
“There are only one or two events every year that will require additional law enforcement,” Johnson said. “If we determine an event will need additional enforcement, we will notify the event organizers who will pay for the law enforcement services.”
Johnson said Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity hosted ASVT for the first time last year and employed a private security firm to control the event. He said the private security could not handle the crowded event and that the Sheriff’s Dept. will be better equipped to deal with I.V. events because they have more experience with local residents.
“Last April, the district and the County of Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department allowed ASVT to use private security to assist with the event,” Johnson said. “This was not successful and the private security officers were overwhelmed and left halfway through the event. … This year, both [IVRPD] staff and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. feel that peace officers, rather than private security, are needed for the event.”
ATO President Matt Rousso, a third-year law & society major, said he did not plan ASVT last year, but he was there for most of the event. He said he felt that the private security firm was able to control the crowd, and most of the people involved in the tournament obeyed the law and respected the park.
“As far as I knew last year, the private security did its job and was there the whole time,” Rousso said.
I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Mark Williams said he believes that everyone organizing a large event or party in I.V. should invite law enforcement officials to help maintain order, even if the event is not held in the parks.
“We don’t want an event to get out of control,” Williams said. “We will work with organizations to keep a safe event, [and] generally, it will go smoother.”