The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has provided a list of resources to assist candidates with a clear understanding of how to prepare for the testing process and a career in Custody Operations or Patrol law enforcement. 

Sheriff’s Deputy Career
Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Website

California POST website- CLICK HERE

Custody Deputy Career
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Exam Preparation 

Sheriff’s Deputy Trainee – The POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLET B) is the written exam administered for this position.
PELLETB Preparation Guide – CLICK HERE

Custody Deputy- The CDCR Adult Corrections Officer test is the written exam administered for this position.
Adult Corrections Officer Preparation Guide CLICK HERE

Hiring Interview for Peace Officer Candidates

Commission Regulation 1952 stipulates that every peace offer be interviewed prior to employment to determine the person’s suitability for law enforcement service. Candidates are encouraged to review the POST Interviewing Peace Officer Candidates Guidelines (PDF) as a resources on how to prepare for the interview step in the selection process.

There are several things you can do to prepare for the interview. Consider the following:

Investigate the position
Read the recruitment literature
Talk with deputies
Participate in the ride-along program (Patrol)
Participate in a correctional facility tour (Custody)

First Impressions Interview
Professional business attire is recommended
Appropriate grooming
Department knowledge
Communication skills
Be honest
Make eye contact
Take time to think before responding

Possible areas of questioning
What have you done to prepare yourself for the position?
What do you understand to be the duties of a deputy/custody deputy position(s)?
Why do you want to be a deputy/custody deputy?
What will be the most challenging aspect for you in become a deputy?

Physical Preparation

Your physical preparation is perhaps the one area you have absolute control over in this endeavor. The lack of physical preparation is the number one reason recruits fail out of the academy. If you are not in top physical condition on day one of the pre-academy, your chance for success diminishes greatly. If you are going to apply for Deputy Sheriff or Custody Deputy position, you need to establish a regular workout program now if you haven’t already. It is recommended that you start to prepare physically before you apply. You must be disciplined and committed to your physical training regimen to succeed.

Please click here for PAT explanation

Physical Agility Test (PAT) – The physical agility test is designed to measure your strength and endurance for the physical demands of a law enforcement career.

Deputy Sheriff Trainee consists of four events:

Event 1: 1.5 Mile Run
Time allotted to complete the run is 15:00 minutes regardless of the candidate’s overall final score.
This test is used to gauge the candidate’s readiness for the more rigorous academy fitness standards.

Event 2: Sit-ups
Time allotted is a (2) minute time limit. Each sit-up is worth (1) point each.

This test is used to evaluate your core strength. While there are obvious physical demands of becoming a deputy, there is also a lot of downtime spent sitting. The hamstrings and hip flexors will tighten up from sitting, and then be challenged by long bouts of standing around with the heavy duty-belt on. These issues multiplied by 25 years on the job can potentially lead to back issues. While this test is not assessing long-term back health on the job, it does adequately assess you baseline core endurance

Event 3: Push-ups
No time limit. Each push-up is worth (2) points each.

This push up test is used to assess muscular endurance and strength in your upper body. Good upper body strength is a must for controlling a resisting suspect.

Event 4: Pull-ups
No time limit. Each push-up is worth (2) points each

Pull-ups strengthen the upper back. Good upper back strength is a necessary for climbing over fences and walls, as well as the physical demands of controlling a subject.

The Custody Deputy consists of three events:

Event 1: 100-yard sprint
Time limit: 19 seconds immediately followed by the body drag.

Event 2: Body drag – lift and drag a 165 lb. dummy for a distance of 32 feet over a flat surface.
Time limit: 10 seconds.

Event 3: 500-yard run – Complete a 500 yard run.
Time limit: 2 minutes.

Pre-Academy Training

The Sheriff’s Office Training Bureau provides a pre-academy training to enhance the successful completion of a POST Basic Training or STC Academy. The pre-academy classes include a physical training program.

Law Enforcement and Custody Academies

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office sponsored recruits attend one of the finest law enforcement basic training programs list below. Recruits are hired and paid by the agency while attending the academy.

The Basic Law Enforcement Academy is designed to satisfy all State of California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements for students wanting to be hired by a law enforcement agency or for newly hired peace officers. 

The Basic Law Enforcement Academy is a 21-week (836 hour) intensive course that is best described as a college course with strict para-military discipline.  Students attending the academy will be academically and physically challenged, faced with solving complex problems in a highly stressful, disciplined and structured environment. Recruits receive rigorous and challenging training in all phases of law enforcement.


The Allan Hancock College Core Custody Academy is designed to satisfy State of California Standards and Training for Corrections (STC) requirements for students wanting to be hired as a custody officer by a law enforcement agency or currently employed as such.

The Core Custody Academy is an intensive college course with para-military discipline. Students attending the academy will be academically and physically challenged, faced with solving complex problems in a stressful, disciplined and structured environment. Recruits receive basic training in many phases of custody and care of prisoners.

Ventura County Criminal Justice Center- Law Enforcement

Allan Hancock Public Safety Training – Law Enforcement Academy

Allan Hancock Public Safety Training – Custody Academy

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you have additional questions regarding our recruitment process, please contact the Sheriff’s Human Resources Bureau at (805) 681-4190 or email at