Sheriff Bill Brown

After a long time coming, the powers that be broke ground on Tuesday at the northern branch jail site in Santa Maria, slated to open in spring 2019. Construction of the $111 million, 376-bed facility is expected to be about 75 percent funded by the state. Of the 200 people in attendance, one was detained by deputies after he reportedly yelled about the project’s burdensome costs to taxpayers and grabbed a shovel. Nevertheless, Sheriff Bill Brown (pictured above) appeared upbeat, saying in a long speech that the new jail would lead the way to “a new era of corrections” that will be “hallmarked” by “safer working conditions for custody staff.” After, he donned a cowboy-hat-shaped hardhat and climbed behind the controls of a backhoe to scoop a few loads of dirt.


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