Citizens Academy








Today, the average citizen can have a very inaccurate view of law enforcement, a view mainly derived through Hollywood movies meant to entertain and through television fiction, a view derived from a lack of real-world experience.  However, gaining an accurate view and entering into a partnership with our local law enforcement agency is not only a matter of social responsibility; it is in many ways a civic duty.  Modern policing founder Sir Robert Peel said in the early 19th Century, “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police.” Sheriff Bill Brown, and the men and women of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, take this principle of modern policing to heart.  It is in this light that we offer our community members the opportunity to participate in our Citizen’s Academy programs, the opportunity to get to know the men and women of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, to cultivate the needed community partnership between the public and the police via real-life experience, training, transparency, and accessibility. 


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office offers multiple Citizen’s Academies per year, dispersed winter, spring, and summer/fall.  All of the academies are open to citizens from throughout the county.  Our Citizen’s Academies are generally 8-week courses consisting of one training session per week, held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday at various venues throughout the county.  There is a final training session and graduation ceremony held on Saturday morning of the 8thweek.


Participants will engage in hands-on law enforcement training throughout the course.  Training involves Arrest and Control, Use of Force Law, Search and Seizure Law, Firearms, Building Searches, Active Shooter Response, K9 Operations, Force Option Simulator Training, Scenario Training, and much more.  There will also be a tour of the jail, a voluntary ride-along with a Patrol Deputy, and presentations made by Sheriff Bill Brown and Undersheriff Bernard Melekian.   


The maximum amount of participants for each Citizen’s Academy is thirty.  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and committed to attending every training session.  Completion of a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Citizen Academy is a prerequisite for participation in the Sheriff’s Volunteer Team Program (SVT).  The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announces application periods via social media outlets and the local press.  Please follow the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sign up for Nixle alerts on our website at  For more information, please contact Senior Deputy Dave Valadez at 805-319-9773, or email him at



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