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Left to right, retired Undersheriff Ken Shemwell, Sheriff Bill Brown, Undersheriff Jim Peterson

Press Release

Left to right, retired Undersheriff Ken Shemwell, Sheriff Bill Brown, Undersheriff Jim Peterson


Sheriff Brown Promotes New Undersheriff

Chief Deputy Jim Peterson replaces retired Undersheriff Ken Shemwell


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has a new Undersheriff after Sheriff Bill Brown promoted Chief Deputy Jim Peterson to the second highest position in the SBSO during a ceremony in Goleta this morning.

The Undersheriff is largely responsible for the day to day operations of the Sheriff’s Office and functions as the Sheriff in his absence. Undersheriff Peterson replaces Undersheriff Ken Shemwell, who retired after working 33 years with the Sheriff’s Office.

Undersheriff Peterson first joined the Sheriff’s Office as a part-time employee while attending UCSB. He was hired full-time in 1983, after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Society. Over the next 28 years, Undersheriff Peterson’s duties included Patrol, Special Operations, Gang Enforcement, Chief of Police of contract cities Buellton and Solvang, Human Resources Bureau, and Main Jail Operations. Since being promoted to Chief Deputy in 2005, Undersheriff Peterson has served as the Custody Operations Chief and most recently oversaw Support Services until his promotion to Undersheriff today.

More than 150 people attended the Promotional Ceremony, which was held inside the Sheriff’s Training Facility in Goleta. Attendees included retired Sheriff Jim Thomas, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Lompoc Police Chief Tim Dabney, Guadalupe Police Chief George Mitchell, UCSB Police Chief Dustin Olson, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, as well as representatives from state and federal law enforcement agencies, dozens of other colleagues, friends, family and Sheriff’s personnel.

During Sheriff Brown’s comments, the Sheriff addressed his new second in command by saying, “I have great confidence in your character, your talents, your abilities, and in your potential to assume the difficult role of Undersheriff. You are taking a position of great responsibility which is important to our organization, and to me. Much will be expected of you, and I know that you will deliver.”

Due to budget constraints, the Support Services Chief Deputy position from which Undersheriff Peterson was promoted will remain vacant.

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