Fire & Police Commission
In 1874, the Pioneer Fire Company No. 1 was organized. Crime was infrequent in Santa Barbara in the 1800's and major felonies were so rare that it was not considered necessary to form a police force until 1900. In 1927 the City Council formed the Fire and Police Commission to ensure the smooth and professional functioning of the two departments.
The Commissioners organized the departments into their present form, establishing their salaries and ranks and hiring chiefs. Major actions taken by either the Police or Fire Department had to be approved by the Commission. This arrangement came to an end in 1967 with the reconstitution of the Commission by the City Council, at which time the Fire and Police Departments became responsible for their own operations, with the Fire and Police Commission acting solely in an advisory capacity.
Learn more about serving on this advisory group.
Advise the City Council and City Administrator in all matters relating to efficient and adequate fire and police protection for the City.
- Advise the City Council and City Administrator in all matters relating to efficient and adequate fire and police protection for the City.
- Recommend rules and regulations concerning the operation and conduct of the Fire and Police Departments.
- Preside over appeals of the following: a suspension of a dance permit, denial of a pedicab operating permit, and revocation of a permit for a pawnbroker.
- Approve tow permits as well as private security guard company uniforms and vehicles operating within the City.
- Consider with the Fire and Police Chiefs an annual budget and make recommendations to the City Council and City Administrator.
- Recommend to the City Council and City Administrator appointments to the offices of Fire Chief and Police Chief.
- Provide a forum to facilitate communication between the community and the Fire and Police Departments, including opportunities for community input and education on departmental policies, procedures and practices in Santa Barbara.
- In coordination with the police monitor role within the City Administrator’s Office, discuss patterns, trends, and significant observations in complaints of police misconduct and facilitate the review of applicable Police Department policies, procedures and practices.
- Conduct ongoing reviews of the complaint process, in collaboration with the police monitor role in the City Administrator’s Office and make recommendations on improving the process based on established effective civilian oversight practices.
- Receive reports from the Chief of Police or the City Administrator’s Office that contain aggregate data regarding internal investigations and subsequent employment actions taken.
- Review and discuss with the Police Chief, in open session, individual investigations, if and when they become disclosable under the California Public Records Act.
- To review and provide feedback on monthly updates presented by the Chief of Police on the Departments’ customer service programs, community oriented policing initiatives, crime trends and statistics, and crime prevention programs.
- To receive a presentation from the Chief of Police concerning any Officer Involved Shootings, once determinations or findings have been made by the agency conducting such an investigation.
- Exercise such other functions, powers
Five (5) members.
- Must be qualified electors of the City
- Cannot be an individual or attorney who represents a person or entity with a pending claim or lawsuit against the Fire or Police Department, or any of their officers or employees. If an individual ends up representing a person or entity against either of the Departments during their term, the individual is required to resign from the Commission.
- Cannot be any current or former law enforcement officer or firefighter, or where relevant or comparable any member of the public, who has a sustained finding of serious misconduct made by any law enforcement agency, independent investigator contracted by a public agency, or court.
Length of Term
Four years and until successors are appointed. Staggered terms expire on December 31 of the appropriate year.
The Commission will meet in City Council Chambers, City Hall, 735 Anacapa Street on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Date, time, and place of regular meetings may be changed from time to time.
PLEASE REFER TO THE CURRENT MEETING AGENDA FOR MEETING TIME AND PLACE INFORMATION.
Financial Disclosure Requirement
Members are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests upon appointment, annually and when leaving the advisory group.
Ethics Training Requirement
The City of Santa Barbara requires members of this commission to take City ethics training within one year after member is appointed or reappointed.
City Administrator’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, Police Department and Fire Department
City Charter Sections 800 – 805, and 816; Municipal Code Sections 2.08.020.1, 2.09 and 9.118.010; Resolution No. 95-158. General Overview of Functions / Responsibilities Rules and Regulations City Charter Sections 800 – 816 Power and Duties Resolution No. 95-158 Formation of 1926 City Charter
Formation of 1926 City Charter