The past couple months have seen a much-needed increase in custody deputies joining the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, as well as graduates of the Custody Deputy Academy. Late in August, nine new custody deputies received their badges and were sworn into their appointments by Sheriff Bill Brown, who emphasized how their demeanor could affect their charges profoundly. By modeling and exhibiting the behavior they expected, said Brown, “you will help reduce future crime and protect the public we serve in a very meaningful way.” Jimena Aguilera, Gabriel Cisneros, Brian Foster, Alfredo Gallardo, Antonio Madrigal, Victor Nash, Mark Ramirez, Matthew Sua, and David Villavicencio are the new custody deputies.
An academy for custody deputies saw its first graduating class on September 8 from Allan Hancock College’s CORE program. Twenty-two men and women completed 220 hours of instruction as well as the California Standards and Training for Corrections. Undersheriff Bernard Melekian delivered the keynote address, telling the graduates: “The world you are about to inhabit is among the most challenging in the criminal justice profession. You will be challenged in ways that will test your patience, your courage, and your commitment to the principles of the Constitution.”
Fifteen of the deputies are from Santa Barbara County’s Sheriff’s Office, and seven are from San Luis Obispo’s. The Santa Barbara graduates include Tori Campbell, Saul Diaz Jr., Kevin Ericksen Jr., Joemarie Fuentes, Cindy Guendulain, Drew Hanafee, Liana Magda, Marcus Naranjo, Robert Rochelle, Segun Ogunleye Jr., Robert Ferrel, Thomas Fournier, and Jesus Lopez. Also, graduate Francisco De La Mora was the class valedictorian and received the Leadership Award, and Guiseppe Arnoldi was recognized as Most Inspirational to his class.
One new deputy entered the force in the August ceremony. Donna Wilson, formerly with the UCSB Police Department and a two-year veteran of the Sheriff’s reserve force, received her badge from Brown. She is also a member of the Mounted Unit, which just gained new quarters for its horses. The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse gifted a barn at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center as a training facility for the horses, which help deputies with crowd control and participate in parades. The $160,000 gift was accepted by the Board of Supervisors on September 13. On Sunday, a benefit for the unit will be held at the facility (195 N. Refugio Rd.) complete with wine tasting, appetizers, music, and an auction. More information can be found here.