Sergeant Sandra Brown

Courtesy Photo

Sergeant Sandra Brown

Sergeant Sandra Brown Looks to Unseat Sheriff Bill Brown

Challenger Doesn’t Mince Words as She Critiques Santa Barbara County’s Top Cop

Monday, May 6, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

Sheriff Bill Brown, after running unopposed for reelection in 2010, will face opposition from inside the department in 2014.

Sandra Brown (no relation to the sheriff) — who has worked in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for 16 years — officially kicked off her candidacy Wednesday to be the county’s next (and first female) top cop, after months of movement behind the scenes positioning herself for the run.

In a scathing review of the sheriff’s tenure, Brown said in an interview Wednesday that her boss has failed to build rapport with his deputies and is a one-trick pony focused on building a new jail in North County. “He wants the title and he’s not doing the job,” she said.

Sandra Brown — who in 2008 was promoted to sergeant by the sheriff and currently serves as detective sergeant in the Special Investigations Bureau, which is the Coroner’s Office — said her boss has ignored crime and law enforcement trends. “He’s good with the status quo,” she said.

But she faces an uphill climb against an incumbent who is generally well-liked in the community. Sheriff Brown entered the 2006 race as an underdog against incumbent Sheriff Jim Anderson and Anderson’s predecessor, Jim Thomas. Brown came in second to Anderson in the primary, and the two faced off in the general election. At the time, the race was as much about getting Anderson out of office as it was about getting someone new in, and Brown was able to rally support from Thomas and others who saw Anderson as lacking leadership in a department where morale was plummeting.

Many of those same issues Anderson faced, Brown is now enduring. While generally well-liked in the community, some deputies in the department have not been as impressed by Brown’s time in office. Geoffrey Banks, a commander who recently retired and is supporting Sandra Brown, said none of the people he’s spoken to in the department support the current sheriff. “There’s a disconnect with people,” he said.

Others, however, say that’s not the role of the sheriff as a department head. He fights for the department at board meetings and represents public safety officials in securing state funding from Sacramento. The sheriff said he believes he has the support of the majority of people in the department.

And his department has seen its budget cut nearly every year he’s been in office. His department — now at 625 employees, the largest in the county — has undergone a 10 percent cut in staffing. “I’m very proud of the work that has been done by the men and working in the Sheriff’s Department,” he said. Since 2011, Brown, along with other public safety agencies including probation and the DA’s office, have had to deal with the repercussions of realignment, which has increased the burden on local law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff Brown said that despite delivering on campaign promises under tough conditions, work on issues related to crime and public safety remains to be done.

Though budget cuts have hit the department, Sandra Brown said, it can still move forward and work in a progressive manner on fighting crime. “I don’t want to complain; I want to do something,” she said.

The sheriff has proven to be an adept politician, which has helped him in many respects, perhaps most critically in his pursuit of a new North County jail. Brown has advanced the cause of a new North County jail further along than any of his three predecessors. He has secured the majority of the construction funding from the state, and he is currently working with the Board of Supervisors on a complicated scheme to have funds ready to operate the jail when it opens in 2017.

He was lauded for forming a blue ribbon commission shortly after taking office to take a close look at the jail. The commission was an impressive group of stakeholders from all over, including prison consultants, mental health professionals, representatives from Probation, County Counsel, and the Public Defender and District Attorney’s offices. While some say Brown’s ability to move forward with the jail was a matter of being sheriff at the right time — when funding became available from the state — it wasn’t just handed to him on a platter.

Not every county pursued the funding, and some that did wound up not receiving the money for their projects. The process was very intensive and intricate, and Brown and his staff nimbly worked their way through it. “It was a result of teamwork,” Brown said. “Any successes I’ve had I give [the management team] credit, as well.”

The sheriff said he understands there have been morale issues, but many other counties are enduring the same problems, he said, because of budget cuts. “The employees have been dealing with significant issues,” he said, “but they’ve stepped up and delivered during the hard times.”

Sandra Brown, meanwhile, said there needs to be more focus on Isla Vista, where crime has gone up and the party scene has grown. Indeed, statistics from the Sheriff’s Department indicate violent crime incidents in Isla Vista jumped from 54 in 2005 and 69 in 2006 to 103 in 2011 and 93 in 2012. Sandra Brown said she wants to install lights along the cliffs in Isla Vista and said that when she worked as a senior deputy in Isla Vista, sexual assaults and keg sales decreased.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam said he has endorsed Sandra Brown. “She’s great,” he said. “She’s smart. She sees so clearly the things that need to be done.”

His colleague, 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, is in the sheriff’s corner. “He’s distinguished himself as a very competent public servant with public safety capability,” Carbajal said. District Attorney Joyce Dudley also said she is endorsing Sheriff Brown, who serves on the state’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. Brown said that at the proper time he will be “mounting a vigorous campaign to retain my position.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

"The sheriff said he believes he has the support of the majority of people in the department."

This egotistical statement alone should give pause to all voters in SB. This is so far from the truth it is not even laughable. This Sheriff is despised by most who work for him. This Sheriff is more concerned with having his name on a building than building moral within the department.

Sheriff, if you believe you have the support of most on your department ask your subordinates to take a vote of confidence. Then make that vote public. If you are so sure of yourself you have nothing to lose and a huge boost to your campaign. Make it happen Sheriff!!

Nearly his entire administration is filled with "Yes man" who would fall on their own sword to get promoted. This next statement from an apparent Yes man says it all, Others, however, say "that’s not the role of the sheriff as a department head. He fights for the department at board meetings and represents public safety officials in securing state funding from Sacramento." Who are these people? Why are they not telling us their names? If you like and support the Sheriff tell us who you are!!

There is nobody left like Retired Chief Deputy Banks to tell the Sheriff we are falling apart. Not that the Sheriff would listen. His ego is too large to take criticism or listen to others point of view. That would mean he has made a mistake or a subordinate has a better idea. This man is all about himself and nobody would dare get in his way.

It is laughable to see that Salud is in his court. The truth is Salud understands this current Sheriff would sell his sole and his department to get his pet projects. This Sheriff has rolled over every year getting less and less to run his department for a new jail we will not be able to afford.

The truth is we now have fewer deputies on the street (Approx. 80) fewer than five years ago. How does this make the public feel safer? The Sheriff himself has said AB109 is placing more criminals here in SB, but we have less deputies working the streets.

Like all politicians, Bill Brown's time has come. He has got to go....

Priceless (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Sheriff Bill has Joyce Dudley,s endorsement...Is that really a good thing? Also, I am wondering if this will be like the Joyce and Josh show? The second after the election, he was fired.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course Salud supports him. Salud always supports those who kiss his rear end. I don't think they can fire a sargent, they are union backed and not at will. Although she should watch her back if she loses.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Better make time for Sergeants!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sheriff Brown, whose literature listed "Integrity" as the highest priority in the position of sheriff, advertised endorsement by California Organization of Police and Sheriffs during his 2010 campaign, managed by Lanny Ebenstein. COPS is one of the acronyms used by members of a telemarketing scam sued by AG Jerry Brown for $12.7 million in May 2009, and has no connection with law enforcement. In addition to representing themselves as members of law enforcement, callers threatened Latinos that their 911 service would be disconnected unless they made a donation. Brown made a campaign pledge to sheriff's department members to discontinue IA investigations in progress, and start off with a "clean slate", the SBPD policy of lack of responsibility to residents, not a "clean slate" for those who'd filed complaints . We've had disinformation in the media regarding county jail overcrowding (based on county incarceration policy, not crime), SB County's response to prison realignment and alternative sentencing, and the use of realignment funds to build an additional jail rather than in promoting the cost effective policy of alternative sentencing, reducing crime as well as rehabilitating criminals, a policy that benefits the community. Supporters of Measure S included no citizens’ organizations promoting crime reduction or community safety and were primarily unions associated with law enforcement employees.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We voted against a new jail and Sheriff Brown keeps pushing for it anyways. The county cannot afford the 17 million a year to operate a new jail. A better option would be to run the jail we have now better and to increase alternative sentencing and rehabilitation. Of course that would not allow the sheriff to have his name on a building.

sbs124 (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder why Sheriff is an elected position when Fire Chiefs and Chiefs of Police aren't? Does having elections really get us a better Sheriff?

Conversely, should all department heads be elected? Why isn't the County CEO elected as the Sheriff is?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How did we go from a Sheriffs election to electing department heads? Pay attention here people.

If you love the way the Sheriff's dept. is being run than Bill is your man. If you don't and want a Sheriff's dept. that is fully staffed that can handle your call, investigate your crime, patrol your streets, handle events such as Deltopia effectively Bill is NOT your man because he is an absent Sheriff.

Moral is at its lowest in decades, there are fewer deputies on the streets, there are fewer detectives investigating crimes, there are virtually no gang detectives, fewer narcotics detectives and the list goes on. Bill is more concerned about a north county jail than keeping up with retiring deputies, deputies leaving for other departments and so on.

The men and women that are left are doing the best they can but they need a new leader who will back them at board of supervisors meetings when Salud or Janet is taking there funding away to give it to pet projects. Your tax dollars should go to critical services first especially in tight budget years before pet projects. Pet projects are not going to come to your door at 2am when a burglar, rapist or murderer is knocking on your door. Bill has for years given in to these politicians hoping down the road they will return the jester. Well, we are still waiting and have 80 positions open.

How much longer can you wait??? Is a pet project or a weak Sheriff worth more than your safety???

Priceless (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 7:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"This egotistical statement alone should give pause to all voters in SB."

Not intelligent ones.

"This is so far from the truth it is not even laughable."


"This Sheriff is despised by most who work for him."


JayB (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Like all politicians, Bill Brown's time has come ..."
-- Priceless

LOL, it's quite obvious Priceless is the one who isn't paying attention!

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 10:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Having an elected sheriff is an anachronism, an antiquated, Old-West notion that needs to go. As others have pointed out, cities run very well with chiefs appointed by city councils. Sheriff not performing? You don't have to wait until the next election cycle if he/she is appointed. And - independently elected sheriffs complicate the running of county government with their own agendas and rogue political support groups created by "Citizens Sheriff Academies", preventing a better balancing of services - especially in times of fiscal stress. Elected sheriffs are a pain-in-the-ass of county governments, and it's time to get rid of the archaic idea that they need to be elected.

Pagurus (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Peter Adam supports Sandra? Bill's got my vote.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
May 9, 2013 at 3:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Joyce Dudley supports Brown? Sandra's got my vote.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2013 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What is Sandra's stance on issuing License to Carry permits? Bill Brown elitist attitude toward issuing permits has left the county open to expensive lawsuits. We need a sheriff who does not make arbitrary judgement on whether or not your life is worth protecting.

RPiccone (anonymous profile)
October 3, 2013 at 7:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Kramer vs. Kramer.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
October 3, 2013 at 8:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please will someone ask SANDRA BROWN why she's hiding to truth about the JERRY BERNS AUTOPSY the family has been asking questions and have been denied a meeting with DR ROBERT ANTHONY the man that did the autopsy and failed to do his job. I have photos of JERRY at the mortuary, and cataloged every wound on his body. I had to fight for years to get the report from SANDRA BROWN and if she had her way I still wouldn't have it. What I have is 50 photos of my dead brother and an autopsy report that doesn't add up, several wounds are not on this report including the stun gun burns. SANDRA BROWN has no answer for what I showed her in my photos and wont let me see the photos taken at autopsy to compare and give me an explanation. This is a MURDER COVER UP by the SANTA MARIA POLICE DEPARTMENT,SANTA BARBARA DISTRICT ATTORNY JOYCE DUDLEY, MAG NICOLA, AND YOUR CORONER SANDRA BROWN...Check out some of the story on DR PHIL...HAUNTED BY THE EVIDENCE...WHY WAS MY BROTHER KILLED..

jerod (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2014 at 5:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: