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Fire & Police Commission

Most City Board and Commission meetings are being facilitated through telecommunications to avoid close personal contact during the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to the current Board/Commission meeting agenda for further information on how to participate, or contact the Board/Commission secretary for further assistance.


In 1874, the Pioneer Fire Company No. 1 was organized. Crime was infrequent in Santa Barbara in the 1800's and major felonies were so rare that it was not considered necessary to form a police force until 1900. In 1927 the City Council formed the Fire and Police Commission to ensure the smooth and professional functioning of the two departments.

The Commissioners organized the departments into their present form, establishing their salaries and ranks and hiring chiefs. Major actions taken by either the Police or Fire Department had to be approved by the Commission. This arrangement came to an end in 1967 with the reconstitution of the Commission by the City Council, at which time the Fire and Police Departments became responsible for their own operations, with the Fire and Police Commission acting solely in an advisory capacity.

Learn more about serving on this advisory group.

General Functions

Advise the City Council and City Administrator in all matters relating to efficient and adequate fire and police protection for the City.

  • Recommend rules and regulations concerning the operation and conduct of the Fire and Police Departments.
  • Consider with the Fire and Police Chiefs an annual budget and make recommendations to the City Council and City Administrator.
  • Recommend to the City Council and City Administrator appointments to the offices of Fire Chief and Police Chief.
  • Exercise such other functions, powers and duties not inconsistent with the City Charter as may be prescribed by ordinance.    
    Committee Functions
    Membership 5 Members
    Qualifications Must be qualified electors of the City
    Length of Term Four years and until successors are appointed. Staggered terms expire on December 31 of the appropriate year.
    Meeting Schedule

    The Commission meets at the Police Department, 215 E. Figueroa Street, on the 4th Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Date, time, and place of regular meetings may be changed from time to time.

    Time Involved Approximately 3 hours per month for meetings and related activities
    Financial Disclosure Requirement Members are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests upon appointment, annually and when leaving the advisory group.
    Ethics Training Requirement The City of Santa Barbara requires members of this commission to take City ethics training within one year after member is appointed or reappointed. 
    Compensation None
    Staff Fire Department: (805) 965-5254
    Police Department: (805) 897-2300

    City Charter Sections 800 - 805, and 816; Municipal Code Sections 2.08.020.I and 9.118.010; Resolution No. 95-158.   
        General Overview of Functions/Responsibilities
        Rules and Regulations   
        City Charter Sections 800-816  Power and Duties 
        Resolution No. 95-158  Formation of
        1926 City Charter


Last Updated: Jun 9, 2020
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