Monday, November 12 , 2018, 4:56 pm | Fair 72º


Law Enforcement Gearing Up for Isla Vista Halloween

Goleta Police Chief Butch Arnoldi tells the council that normal staffing won't be enough

City of Goleta officials expect about 40,000 people to be passing through Isla Vista for Halloween this year, and law enforcement agencies are bringing in dozens of extra officers and deputies to work from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, according to a presentation during Tuesday's Goleta City Council meeting.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies will cover Isla Vista itself, but Goleta Police Chief Butch Arnoldi recommends beefing up patrols within Goleta to 16 deputies on Halloween and 15 every night for the weekend.

He said the normal staffing of three deputies and a supervisor isn’t nearly enough for the number of people coming into town.

The UCSB Police Department is bringing in more than 100 officers from other campuses, and the Santa Barbara Police Department is sending officers to help cover Isla Vista itself, Arnoldi said.

Isla Vista Halloween has a total cost of about $150,000 for the county’s taxpayers, he said.

Last year’s Halloween was considered mild by Isla Vista standards, with minor impacts on the surrounding Goleta neighborhoods, according to Vyto Adomaitis, the city’s Neighborhood Services and Public Safety director. There were 196 arrests, 249 people cited and 71 medical calls.

The city is still preparing for the worst, he said.

It coordinates with the California Highway Patrol, American Medical Response and other agencies to conduct traffic and public safety enforcement every year.

Members of the City Council on Tuesday asked about the economic benefits of the massive Halloween crowds, and Arnoldi said every motel and hotel is filled to capacity and many restaurants and main shopping centers do very well.

“The ones who really make money are the tow services,” Mayor Roger Aceves said.

A community meeting on public safety is scheduled for next week, at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Council Chambers at 130 Cremona Drive.

Neighbors will be given signs to put out to help prevent parking in residential areas and can learn about enforcement during the Halloween weekend, Adomaitis said.

The City Council also decided to draft a support letter for the Board of Supervisors effort to keep former Redevelopment Agency buildings in Isla Vista. With the RDA dissolution, the county has to fight to keep the buildings that house the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic and meeting space.

Isla Vista residents asked Goleta leaders during Tuesday's council meeting to help save the buildings. 

The clinic serves 1,100 patients a month, and 30 percent of those people are Goleta residents, said Brian Knowles, a board member of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.

Isla Vista residents would have to take three buses to the closest clinic if this one goes away, according to Anne Aziz.

Alex Moore, vice president of the Associated Students at UCSB, said the area is overdeveloped and needs vital services such as the clinic and meeting space.

Many students can’t afford the university’s health-care plan, especially since it increased by 100 percent recently to $800 per quarter, he said. Those students often go to the clinic instead.

Council members unanimously voted to send a letter of support for the county successor agency to keep the buildings.

Councilman Michael Bennett said he hadn’t realized how many Goleta residents use the medical clinic until Tuesday night.

Isla Vista is said to be the most densely-populated piece of urban development west of the Mississippi River, according to Councilman Jim Farr.

“There’s no question they need whatever resources they can muster," he said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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