Released Dec 8, 1997


 Now in its 73rd year, Old Spanish Days Fiesta parade attracts 17,000 to 25,000 celebrants and visitors. This is the third year the Grand Jury has evaluated the performance of the Santa Barbara Police Department, including the Department’s coordination with law enforcement agencies from surrounding counties, as well as the adequacy of public services available to the crowds attending the parade and weekend festivities. Grand Jury observations were limited to the parade on Friday afternoon and State Street activities on Friday and Saturday nights.

 Grand Jury members attended briefings at the Santa Barbara Police Department which included members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, Alcoholic Beverage Control, University of California at Santa Barbara security police, and mutual aid law enforcement agencies from Lompoc, Santa Maria, Oxnard, and Ventura. Jurors were introduced and briefed on operation strategy. While observing Fiesta crowds, Grand Jury members interviewed officers in the field and in the mobile command post. Jurors accompanied officers on car and foot patrols, toured the south and north mercados, and many of the bars in the 500 block of State Street.


  1. After the parade there were several traffic problems, including intersections along the parade route which remained closed to traffic. Further congestion on Gutierrez Street and Haley Street was due to cars attempting to enter or exit Highway 101, with no traffic control by the police.
  2. Police presence contributed to atmosphere of helpfulness and friendliness throughout the festivities. Gang activity was effectively diffused.
  3. The lack of clear signs directing people to portable toilets located in the City Hall parking lot was a problem. Lighting in the vicinity of the toilets was inadequate.

  5. There was a shortage of trash containers on the parade route and in the area around De La Guerra Plaza. Those available were not emptied often enough and were generally overflowing.
  6. Citations to several establishments were issued by the Fire Marshal for overcrowding.




The Santa Barbara Police Department and participating agencies used limited forces in controlling the Friday and Saturday night Fiesta crowds. The policing agencies, individual officers and the police command structure deserve the very highest commendations for their work during this four-day annual event.



  1. Provide after-parade traffic control at congested areas. [Finding 1]
  2. Place several well-positioned signs directing the public to the portable toilets. Provide high intensity lights for the restroom area of the City Hall parking lot. [Finding 2]
  3. Continue to enforce occupancy and fire codes. [Finding 5]
  4. Provide more trash cans and frequent emptying of trash containers. [Finding 4]




Santa Barbara Police Department

Recommendations 1 and 3 and their corresponding findings

Santa Barbara City Council

Recommendations 2 and 3 and their corresponding findings

Santa Barbara Fire Department

Recommendation 3 and its corresponding finding

Santa Barbara Public Works Department

Recommendation 4 and its corresponding finding


Affected Agency


We want to advise you that California Penal Code Section 933.05 requires that responses to Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations must be made in writing to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court and the Grand Jury Foreperson within 90 days (Governing bodies) or 60 days (Department heads) of the issuance of the report


Therefore the Grand Jury requires that you respond to each of the Findings and Recommendations that applies to your agency.


Please send your response to:

Honorable Judge Frank J. Oachoa

Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior Court

1100 Anacapa Street

Santa Barbara, CA. 93121


Grand Jury Foreperson at the same address.


Responses to the Grand Jury should be submitted on a 3 ½ inch computer disk (preferably in Word) along with the printed response.