Special Events are extraordinary events that impact the City and Department beyond regular day-to-day operations. Some Special Events are planned (e.g. filming productions, parades, athletic events, festivals, etc.), some recur each year (e.g. Fiesta, Summer Solstice, 4th of July celebrations, Santa Barbara County Bowl Concerts, etc.), and some are unplanned (political and religious demonstrations, disasters, etc.). Department staff review special events to determine if police officers outside the regularly scheduled police officer deployment should be assigned to protect public safety or perform traffic control. These are extra-duty assignments compensated at an overtime rate. There are Special Events which may not require dedicated extra-duty officers but the organizer requests them. Staff evaluates those requests to determine if they serve the City's interests and may assign officers.
Overtime salaries for Special Events are paid out of the Department's allocated funds. In most cases of planned Special Events, the organizer is billed for the overtime costs. For most unplanned (and a few planned) events the Department absorbs the overtime costs from its existing overtime budget.
Special Event Permits are required for any event that infringes upon the public right of way or is likely to disrupt the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic. Section 15.17.010 of the Municipal Code requires a person seeking issuance of a Special Event Permit to file an application with the Chief of Police not less than 90 days, no more than 300 days before the date on which the Special Event is desired. On a case by case basis late applications may be accepted for consideration. The acceptance of late applications shall be based on there being sufficient time to process and investigate the application and obtain police services for the event. Late applications are subject to a $50 late fee. The application fee for a Special Event Permit is $100. Only checks are accepted and should be made payable to the City of Santa Barbara. You may download a Special Events Permit.
Events Featuring Alcohol
Events featuring alcohol may require a Daily License from the California Alcohol Beverage and Control Agency, (ABC). Please refer to the ABC website for requirements, instructions and forms. The local ABC office currently requires at least 10 business days to process requests for permits. Submit your ABC-221 form to the local ABC office; do not submit this form to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
The ABC may require that applications receive an endorsement from the law enforcement agency under whose jurisdiction the event takes place. In order to obtain a letter of endorsement from the Santa Barbara Police Department, an SBPD ABC Endorsement Application must be completed and submitted. Download the Endorsement Application and submit it to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
The Santa Barbara Police Department requires a $40.00 processing fee for each Endorsement Application. Payment may be submitted with the application, or the applicant may be invoiced. Request for Endorsement letters are normally completed within 5 business days.
Police Officer Requests
Events may contract with the Santa Barbara Police Department for officers to supplement private security and event staff at events. Officers may be contracted for on an overtime basis to handle law enforcement related matters only and should not be looked upon to provide services best handled by private security. Persons wishing to contract for officers need to complete and submit a Santa Barbara Police Department Officer Request Form. You may download an SBPD Officer Request Form.