The crowd of supporters was sparse last Thursday as incumbent
Santa Barbara Sheriff Jim Anderson officially announced he would
defend his title in the upcoming election. Bogged down in recent
months by Sheriff’s Council controversy and hamstrung by severe
state budget cuts, Anderson, 50, nevertheless declared his first
three years in office a success. Joined by his wife and two adult
daughters, Anderson took pride in stating that “crime is down and
arrests are up” under his watch, adding that his department hired
18 new deputies, eight new corrections officers, three dispatchers,
and a forensic pathologist, as well as secured $2 million toward a
new North County jail. Alluding to the Sheriff’s Council fiasco,
Anderson — who once served on the nonprofit organization’s Board of
Directors — explained, “The Sheriff’s Council and the Sheriff’s
Department share a name only. … The Council has their own
leadership and with the court’s help, they are working out their

The Sheriff opted not to answer questions and ducked out from
his own press conference before it was over, offering only that he
needed to “get back to the business of being a sheriff.” Anderson’s
hasty departure may be explained in part by the news earlier in the
week that the union had voted out his ardent supporter, Senior
Deputy Mike Durant, as president of the Deputy Sheriff’s
Association (DSA). The DSA’s endorsement is considered a Holy Grail
in the four-way race featuring three other bigwig lawmen — former
sheriff Jim Thomas, Lompoc police chief Bill Brown, and sheriff’s
deputy Butch Arnoldi. The DSA is expected to name its new president
sometime in April. As for the gun-toting, badge-wearing party of
four, their first public forum is slated for this week.


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