Santa Barbara, Calif. –The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has been selected as the Western States Information Network’s (WSIN) Region IV Agency of the Year for 2020. The award was presented to Sheriff Brown today by Rigoberto Polanco Jr., WSIN Law Enforcement Coordinator. The WSIN network serves Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Canada, Guam, and New Zealand as a part of its Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program. The mission of RISS is to assist local, state, federal, and tribal criminal justice partners by providing adaptive solutions and services that facilitate information sharing, support criminal investigations, and promote officer safety.
The Sheriff’s Office’s participation in WSIN increases efficiency and safety by identifying parallel investigations and suspects for crimes such as homicide, crimes against children, manslaughter, human trafficking, robbery, identity theft, kidnapping, weapons/firearms and drugs/narcotics. The success of this information sharing requires active participation in both sharing and searching of the databases.
Kent Shaw, WSIN Executive Director said, “Your department has demonstrated their commitment to not only support the WSIN mission through deconfliction efforts, but its collaborative efforts in working with the local, state, and federal investigative agencies.”
A notable example of the Sheriff’s Office use of WSIN was the collaboration with various agencies that resulted in the largest drug seizure in Santa Barbara County history. In August of 2020, members of the Sheriff’s Office worked in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the California State Parks, the California Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct an investigation on a drug trafficking organization responsible for the transportation of large quantities of narcotics into the Santa Barbara coastline via panga boats. The investigation resulted in the seizure of over 3,164 pounds of methamphetamine, and the subsequent arrest of 33 individuals.
“I am proud of our investigators’ actions that resulted in our agency receiving this award from WSIN,” said Sheriff Brown. “Our investigators use WSIN on a regular basis as clearing house to determine if any other law enforcement agencies are targeting the same drug dealers, child pornographers, human traffickers, or other criminals preying on members of our community. The Western States Information Network makes our jobs safer and better informs us so we can coordinate our actions the other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, thereby maximizing community safety.”