September 20, 1996
Honorable Judge William L. Gordon
Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior Court
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA. 93121
Dear Judge William L. Gordon:
This letter is in response to the Grand Jury report date April 10, 1996, concerning City Detention Facilities. In the report the Grand Jury states in the observation portion of the report;
"The detention facility consists of a large room which contains: one holding
cell (with one wooden bench), two chairs with handcuffs, the booking area,
the citing area, work tables and the evidence locker. This room is in full
view of the parking lot. There are no shades or drapes on the window."
The Grand Jury Finding and Recommendations state that:
"FINDING 1: The lack of window coverings in the Guadalupe Detention Facility
could be a great hazard to any officer or inmate."
"RECOMMENDATION 1: The Guadalupe Police Department should install
immediately either drapes, blinds or a film on the window to remedy
The findings of the Grand Jury does not state what the great hazard could be to an officer or inmate due to the lack of window coverings.
The Guadalupe Police Department has been in this facility for the past 20 years. I have been an employee of the police department for the past 19 years. In that time I cannot recall of any hazardous incident that an employee or inmate has been involved in, due to the absence of window coverings.
Our booking area is a large room with approximately five windows on the east side, which is adjacent to our parking lot. The parking lot accommodates patrol vehicles and employee owned vehicles. If window covering were placed to shield the viability this could create an officer safety issue, for the following reasons:
1. If an officer were outside in the parking area with a hostile and combative prisoner. Officers inside the booking area would have their visibility shielded from the window coverings, making the offices unaware that the outside officer is in need of assistance.
2. The second reason would be similar to #1. Only that officers outside would be shielded by the window coverings and the officer inside the booking area would need assistance.
3. The third reason is due to financial limitations. Most entries into police parking areas have security gates. Because of our budgetary problem our department has not been able to afford the needed security gate. There are times when motorist or pedestrians ignore the signage and enter into our parking area. If this is done, officers inside the booking area can immediately determine if the vehicle or pedestrian has the authority to enter. With window coverings, this would make it difficult to immediately detect a welcome or unwelcome visitor.
Thank you for this opportunity to respond. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Christopher J. Nartatez
Chief of Police