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Santa Maria Police Department Communications Center
The Santa Maria Police Department Communication Center provides dispatch services for the Police and Fire departments. The Communications Center is staffed with 21 people who provide 24/7 dispatch services to the residents of Santa Maria and Guadalupe. The unit is supervised by a Sergeant and four Senior Dispatchers who oversee 16 dispatchers and one call taker. Dispatchers are responsible for answering and prioritizing incoming 9-1-1 calls, non-emergency calls and administrative calls. Dispatchers also detail appropriate emergency personnel to various calls for service thought the cities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe.
Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, the Santa Maria Police Department Communications Center handles over 170,000 incoming calls for service every year (about 465 per day). There are 63,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls per year (about 172 per day). Currently the Communications Center utilizes Emergency Call Works (ECW) as our 9-1-1 phone system, which provides valuable information related to incoming 911 calls and the location of origin. The Communications Center also acquired new Motorola MCC7500 dispatching consoles, which enhance the radio communications by utilizing its 700 Mhz trunked radio system. The department intends to roll out its new CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) and RMS (Records Management System) systems later this year and will support enhanced features like Text to 911 technology.
The patrol component functions as the backbone of the police services delivery system, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deployment of the police officers who comprise this unit is based on crime and calls for service patterns in a particular neighborhood or other geographic area, the days and times of the week calls for service occur, as well as quality of life issues in our community. Intentional emphasis is placed on the collaborative development of long-term solutions to recurring incidents of neighborhood conflict. Concurrently, the patrol component prides itself on the ability to provide swift and decisive police response to incidents of crime and public disorder.
Patrol is the largest and most visible component of the Police Department. The men and women assigned to this function strive to proactively deter crime before it occurs and to react quickly and effectively when a crime has taken place. Officers are empowered to work in partnership with residents, the business community and other interested groups to develop solutions to chronic problems, crime and fear of crime. The emphasis is on eradicating the causes of crime, not on treating the symptoms.
The Traffic Unit has the responsibility of reducing the loss of life, injury and property damage caused by traffic collisions. As part of their duties, personnel assigned to this unit analyze collision data focusing on location, time and causal factors. Using this information, traffic personnel attempt to reduce the number and severity of our City's traffic collisions through public education, vehicle checkpoints, coordinating efforts with the City’s traffic engineers, and through selective enforcement of those violations linked to collisions by location and cause.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program
The DARE program was implemented in Santa Maria in 1993 and has graduated 20,000 students. The intent of the program is to create a special connection of trust between the children and a uniformed officer. The fully-funded DARE curriculum consisted of interactive, role-playing and cooperative learning activities, taught by one DARE-certified officer to all sixth-grade public school students at seven school campuses. Because of budget reductions, the City lacks sufficient resources to fully fund this program, however, a scaled-down program is provided.
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was established in 1986 to provide a response capability for high-risk situations requiring the use of special weapons and tactics. The team's primary goal is the preservation of life when faced with unusually hazardous situations.
Such situations include barricaded suspects, hostage rescue, high-risk search warrants, terrorist activity, active shooter, dignitary protection, and similar events.
Candidates for the team undergo a rigorous physical agility test and an extensive interview process to test their decision-making skills. The team trains a minimum of 16 hours a month to maintain readiness to respond in the event of an emergency. Membership on the team is voluntary and requires a willingness to be on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The department also has a Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT), which will respond to all barricade suspects or hostage incidents when the SWAT team is requested.
School Resource Officer
The School Resource Officer's primary responsibility is enforcing truancy. The Resource Officer works closely with the schools’ attendance offices and parents of the involved students. Once the school attendance office has tracked and identified a student as truant, the school notifies the School Resource Officer.
The goals of the program are to reduce school absenteeism, teach accountability, provide positive channels for behavior, provide parental accountability guidelines, immediate intervention and instill a sense of responsibility and self esteem. After reasonable efforts to provide an opportunity for success, youths not meeting program guidelines are referred to the criminal justice system.