Just four months after the launch of the Isla Vista Party Registration Program, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol will unveil another program aimed at creating a “bridge between law enforcement and the community” – this time focusing on alternate disciplinary methods for students who violate local drinking and noise ordinances.
The program, named the Isla Vista Foot Patrol Restorative Justice Program, is set to launch around the weekend of Sept. 20, in time for UC Santa Barbara’s move-in weekend, Foot Patrol Lieutenant Juan Camarena announced during an I.V. Community Services District (I.V. CSD) meeting on Aug. 13.
“Restorative justice is an approach to justice that… identifies the harm that is done, how can that harm be repaired and who is responsible,” Camarena said, adding that the purpose of such a program is to “strengthen ties between law enforcement and the community they serve.”
An Isla Vista resident who violates specific Santa Barbara County ordinances – ordinance 36-2: consuming alcohol in public; 36-3: having an open container or 40-2: playing loud music outside of curfew hours – will now have the option of attending a two-hour educational workshop and completing four hours of community service instead of paying a fine. Violating these ordinances can cost a maximum of $100 for first violation, $200 for the second violation and $500 for each additional violation that occurs within that same year, Camarena explained.
Foot Patrol Community Resource Deputy Justin Schroeder added that there are additional court processing and court security fees that can add anywhere from $40 to $100 to the initial fine.
In the workshops, individuals will be educated about the section they violated, how that violation affected the community around them and why the ordinance was created in the first place.
The workshops will be operated by the sheriff’s office, the I.V. CSD, UCSB student organizations and long-term I.V. residents, Camarena said. The program also hopes to also partner with Santa Barbara City College to hold the workshops, as many students who attend the city college also choose to live in I.V., he added.
Additionally, if residents choose the workshop and community service route, the violation won’t appear on their permanent record, Camarena said.
“[We want] education of the actual violation,” Camarena said, citing the loud music ordinance that prohibits amplified music past midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. “[The program] would go into more details of [what it means] to disturb someone’s peace.”
He also stated there would be an attempt on law enforcement’s part to reach out to the offenders and to ask feedback questions during the workshops, such as “How can we solve this problem that we have here? What things can we share with the community to prevent these types of violations?”
For the community service branch of the program, offenders will primarily work with the I.V. Recreation and Park District and the I.V. CSD.
“[The program] will educate the offenders of the consequences of their actions… I believe it will build trust and legitimacy in policing, it will give [law enforcement] an opportunity to reach out to the community and for the community to really understand law enforcement,” Camarena said.
“It’s not just us versus them.”
The I.V. CSD endorsed the program at its Aug. 27 meeting, with Board President Spencer Brandt welcoming the attempt at offering alternative punishments for violations.
“Education is always gonna go so much further than a slap-on-the-wrist approach,” Brandt said.
Updated [3:26 p.m.]: This article was updated to include further information from Schroeder and Camarena.