The members of the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association wish to state that we have NO CONFIDENCE in the incumbents running for re-election. This statement is not one taken lightly by our membership. In the last year and a half our city council has fostered a culture of distrust in our police officers and not honoring the professional and dangerous work they do every day. The lack of understanding and knowledge of what our police officers endure on a daily basis is irresponsible. These decisions to not stand behind your police officers has directly threatened public safety and the safety of those employed to protect our community.
Several months ago the SBPOA conducted an internal survey to determine why police officers were leaving the Santa Barbara Police Department in large numbers. Morale is at an all-time low and the number one reason was the lack of support from our city leaders. As of today, the Santa Barbara Police Department is down almost 30 positions of 141 sworn officers from academy graduate to Chief of Police. There is potential that other officers are in background to transfer to other agencies. Crime stats show over the last two years that violent crime and property crimes are on the rise across the city. As a result of short staffing Chief Melekian has ordered a reduction in responding to calls for service.
The lack of leadership from Mayor Murillo and current city council members has never been so apparent in the last two years from lack of decision-making, numerous lawsuits, and the dysfunction of City management. It is clear it is time for a change. We cannot afford to continue in this same direction for another 5 years.
We know Randy Rowse, Barrett Reed, and Nina Johnson will provide your local law enforcement with the resources necessary to fight crime and keep this community safe. We are certain that each of these candidates will place your safety as well as the safety of your family, homes, and businesses as their top priority.