The Santa Barbara Police Department has been under increased scrutiny as a series of front page articles accused one police officer of forging documents and signatures to create or strengthen DUI cases. The articles have been the only participant in the public dialogue, as the city’s mayor and offices have remained silent on the issue.

That was until Mayor Helen Schneider broke that silence with a two-page statement.

In politics, engaging with the media is called “Feeding the Beast,” but in this case, the Mayor chose to let the beast starve. The statement explained that the city did not want to jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing judicial actions.

The story being painted in the media is not pretty. A reporter was arrested on January 1 for suspected DUI. However, he began writing about forged signatures and reports, and originals being shredded.

If the mayor had commented before, she could have violated numerous state laws, including ones regarding patient privacy, or confidentiality between an employer and a job applicant / employee.

From the Santa Barbara Independent:

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider released a two-page statement Tuesday explaining the wall of official silence emanating from her office and City Hall in general regarding the long series of front page articles running in the News-Press accusing Santa Barbara Police Officer Kasi Beutel of framing drivers suspected of driving under the influence. “I appreciate and share the frustration many people have expressed to me that we have not responded to these allegations,” Schneider said. But to issue statements, she explained, could compromise the integrity of the judicial proceedings now unfolding.

Read the full article here.