Last week, the I.V. Sheriff’s Office launched its voluntary and free-to-use I.V. Party Registration Program.
The program is easy to use and accessible to everyone. Those who want to register their party can go to the I.V. Foot Patrol (IVFP) website in order to designate a sober party monitor. If any noise complaints are called on a registered party, the sober party monitor will be notified and be given 20 minutes to shut the party down, as opposed to IVFP simply arriving to close down the party had it not been registered.
While the Sheriff’s Office has made it clear that they do not condone parties, they hope that this new program will allow the community and law enforcement to be more productive in addressing community complaints regarding disturbances that these parties may cause.
This program can be beneficial for students because it provides registered parties with a 20-minute window to shut the party down and avoid tickets being issued. If a complaint is called on an unregistered party, the hosts responsible would be given a citation.
The benefits of this program also extend to the community and law enforcement since it allows a line of direct communication to exist between residents and the Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Schroeder, Community Resource Deputy and creator of the I.V. Party Registration Program, said that noise complaint calls can often include unpleasant confrontation and a back-and-forth dialogue that keeps everyone from quickly and peacefully reaching a productive solution.
“We put the power back in the hands of the party host, instead of four cops showing up at their door they say ‘hey guys we got a complaint, let’s fix this ourselves,’” said Schroeder.
Response to this program has been fairly mixed so far. According to online reactions, some people feel that this program limits residents freedom to party the way they want to in Isla Vista, while others feel this program will encourage people to be more responsible and act better as neighbors.
Deputy Schroeder said that even though the program has received positive response from students, with parties having been registered on both of the weekends the program has been running so far, they have heard concerns from students who think this program is a “set-up” so that the police can track the parties in I.V.
While the program asks for the address of the party, these details are kept with dispatch and are only used when needed. “Your information is not stored anywhere, it’s shredded after your party is done. This isn’t any kind of database or anything like that, it’s simply so we can contact you if we get a complaint,” explained Schroeder.
Schroeder is hopeful that the principles behind this program will encourage people to be better neighbors to each other, even if they decide not to register their party. He wants this opportunity to allow residents and the Sheriff’s Office to work together in resolving community issues, saying he has been working on some other programs to help achieve this goal.
One of the other programs Schroeder is working towards launching is a Sheriff’s volunteer team which will be used to form a neighborhood watch. In this program, volunteers will go door-to-door and ask if there are any safety concerns or problems community members have. During a small sample walk through the community, Schroeder said he often heard people have complaints about their neighbors.
“Having these volunteers working with me, we can solve those little minor neighborhood problems before they turn into these big, huge things because these small problems build on each other until it blows up, so if we can put out these small fires before they can become big fires that’s a goal [sic],” said Schroeder.
Another upcoming program called the Restorative Justice Program will work with the party registration program to facilitate collaboration between law enforcement and community members in reaching productive resolutions.
This restorative justice program will allow people who receive citations that are commonly given out in I.V., such as noise ordinance or open container violations, to attend a two-hour seminar hosted by Deputy Schroeder which will bring together the offender, the victim, and law enforcement to discuss the problem and how it can be prevented in the future.
Similar to the I.V. Party Registration Program, the Restorative Justice Program will be beneficial for residents since the seminar and assigned community service will replace the consequences of court appearances, citations on their record and fines.
“That’s gonna bring people even closer together I think and just reduce this police stigma that we’re out here to get you because there’s no fine anymore, now we are just educating you,” explained Schroeder.