I was a member of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department for over 33 years. I worked under five sheriffs and in the capacity of an executive for three of them. I held every rank on the department and worked my way up to Undersheriff. The only rank I did not hold was the most difficult and complex rank of Sheriff.
Bill Brown took office in 2007. He was an experienced and tested law enforcement leader with command experience from the Inglewood Police Department and chief-level experience from the Moscow Idaho Police Department. I first got to know him while he served as Lompoc’s Police Chief for 11 years. I found him to be bright, forward thinking, and collaborative. Bill is a former president of the California Police Chiefs Association and is now the immediate past president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association. He is the only individual in the history of the state to have held both esteemed offices. It is no surprise that the top cops in the state chose him to lead and represent them.
Sheriff Brown was instrumental in securing a new jail in North County. The project has added hundreds of construction jobs in the county. The completed facility will enhance the safety of inmates and staff and to the citizens of the county. Although Bill was passionate about the need for a new jail, he was just as passionate about the need to keep individuals out of jail. He was a founding member of the Santa Barbara Prison Re-entry Project that successfully impacted recidivism and kept former prisoners from reoffending. He also was appointed by the governor to sit on the state Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. He embraces the fact that there is more to public safety than just locking people up.
I became extremely close to Bill Brown as I served as his undersheriff, and I still keep in close contact with him. He has navigated the department through the toughest times during the Recession. Under his leadership, I have watched the men and women of the department respond to major events, serious crimes, fires, and floods with dedication and professionalism. I have also seen him interact with public safety professionals, community groups, and community members as well as other elected and appointed government officials in the most positive and collaborative manner.
Being Sheriff is not easy. Unless you’ve worked in the office, there is no way to understand the pressures and complexities of the job. Bill Brown is an experienced and tested leader that has been recognized locally and statewide. He is the obvious choice to lead the Sheriff’s Office and provide the highest quality of public safety services to the citizens of Santa Barbara County for the next four years.