At a recent groundbreaking ceremony, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown commenced the construction of a new Isla Vista Foot Patrol station that will replace the current structure on Pardall Road.

Located at 6504 Trigo Rd., the $3.5 million station will become a two-story, 5,300 sq. ft. structure, Brown said. The completed station will feature secured parking, a detention area, private office space, locker rooms and a lobby.

Public information officer Sgt. Erik Raney said the project began in July 2004 and should be completed by June 2008.

A college town that houses more than 17,000 student and non-student residents, I.V. falls under County Jurisdiction, which includes officers from the University of California Police Dept., the California Highway Patrol and the county.

The new building will improve the I.V. community, Brown said.

“All of us are excited about this project,” Brown said. “The community will have a valuable asset – a professional, user-friendly place to interact with those who protect and serve them.”

Brown said most I.V. police activities are conducted on foot and on bicycles. The IVFP also plays a large part in community-based crime prevention, education and outreach programs.

“The men and the women of the foot patrol are as much a part of life in Isla Vista as are Freebirds and finals week,” he said.

IVFP, one of California’s first community-based law enforcement operations, developed when the SB County Sheriff’s Dept. and UCSB collaborated in 1970. In 1990, the CHP also became involved in the partnership.

“The working relationship forged by these partner law enforcement agencies is unparalleled,” Brown said during his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It is not unusual to see a group of three law enforcement officers walking down Del Playa on a given night, all wearing different uniforms.”

The lease for the current IVFP station is not renewable and expires at the end of June 2008.

Raney said the current station is being leased by UCSB for $42,000 a year. This annual sum of money will fund the operating costs for the new station. However, the county will fund the construction itself.