Polling stations are closed, but the Santa Monica Police Department will remain on maximum deployment this weekend to ensure the city is secure and residents are safe from potential unrest.
Interim Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks said earlier this week that the voting process in Santa Monica went well and there were no incidents that occurred Tuesday related to the election. But with tensions high and uncertainty remaining, SMPD leaders believe it best for the department to continue its high-profile presence until Sunday at the earliest.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, there has been no information about any direct threats to our city, Seabrooks said. “Nevertheless, I want you to be certain about this: the women and men at the Santa Monica Police Department will continue to have a strong presence throughout the community. This presence includes both high visibility patrols in our commercial and business centers and in our residential neighborhoods. You’ll also see our helicopter overhead.”
SMPD understands this may be a bit disconcerting, but aerial coverage is an invaluable resource that provides officers with additional situational awareness and enables officers to quickly deploy and manage field resources.
“Because of the uncertainty our community has expressed to us, we want to make sure we are here and available to quickly respond or show our visual deterrence in the city,” SMPD Lt. Joseph Cortez said. “Currently, we have no personnel responding outside of the city outside of our prior arrangements. So, we have been able to maintain posture inside of our boundaries, and that’s because we really want everyone in the neighborhood or business areas to see a police officer.”
Cortes said he and local officers expect the weekend to be quite calm and people will go about their business as usual. “It’s just we’re in a state where we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” so it’s best for everybody to be proactive.
“But since we have so many officers around in the community, we are sure we have the ability to keep everybody safe,” Cortes said. “We have comprehensive plans in place that take from the best practices across the country; and to quote a lieutenant who’s been very involved with everything — ‘We’re ready. We got this.’ So I want the community to feel they can trust our preparation and know we are taking the necessary steps to produce the highest level of public safety.”
“As always, we encourage you to keep communicating with us online and via telephone,” Seabrooks added in the video. “Our strong relationship with you is the key to us being able to keep Santa Monica safe.”