Elevated police presence to begin October 30 department says
By Sam Catanzaro
Santa Monica police say they will increase their presence in preparation for any potential unrest surrounding the upcoming election.
According to Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Lieutenant Joseph Cortez, the department has no intelligence to indicate Santa Monica will be a place of unrest but said “we also know that things can change rapidly and are actively monitoring the situation.”
The SMPD says that beginning October 30, Santa Monica will see an elevated police presence throughout the city.
“Over the last several weeks, the Santa Monica Police Department has been working with our local and regional partners in preparation for any unrest surrounding the election,” Cortez said. “Our visibility should not cause alarm and is dedicated to swiftly intercede with any type of criminal activity.”
According to police, the City of Santa Monica and the SMPD have plans in place that include “a robust staffing model” and have coordinated with the Office of Emergency Management to have an activation plan for the entire City. The Department could not immediately be reached for more information surrounding these plans.
The announcement by the SMPD comes days after the City of Beverly Hills announced they will be shutting down Rodeo Drive on election day saying it is “planning for the worst.”
In addition, the announcement comes on new Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks’ first day. Seabrooks’–who formally served as chief from 2012-2017–takes over for Cynthia Renaud, who retired amidst criticism surround the SMPD’s response to the civil unrest and looting of May 31.
In the events of May 31–in which looters took advantage of a peaceful protest against the police killing of George Floyd– 350 businesses reported some loss due to criminal activity. The Department says it has received questions about reinforcing storefronts ahead of the election but is not taking any stance on the practice.
“As a Police Department, we cannot tell business what to do when it comes to boarding up. However, we understand the need to feel secure and we respect your decisions on how to handle your day to day operations. If you choose to board up your business or want to have the materials ready to do so, we support you,” Cortez said.