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34 Santa Barbara County Residents Graduate from the Citizen’s Academy

After seven weeks of interactive classes, 34 Santa Barbara County residents graduated today, November 17, 2018, from the Citizen’s Academy.  The participants ranged from 18 to 45 years of age with different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives.  The group included students, entrepreneurs, educators, social service workers, University staff and medical professionals, just to name a few.  The Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the UCSB Police Department and the City of Goleta to put on the free program.

The Citizen’s Academy is designed to give the public an inside look at just some of what law enforcement does on a daily basis to keep its citizens safe.  During the course of the program, the participants toured the jail, fired a handgun, took interactive classes in active shooter training, use of force, search and seizure law, building searches and arrest and control, just to name a few.  The Citizen’s Academy is also geared for community members interested in a career in law enforcement/public safety and is a great recruitment tool for the Sheriffs’ Office.

Today the participants finished their last class, a K-9 demonstration, at the Sheriff’s Training Bureau. Then, they received their certificates of completion at a graduation ceremony and celebratory BBQ attended by family and friends of the graduates, their instructors and past Citizen Academy graduates.  At the ceremony, the crowd applauded each graduate as Sheriff Bill Brown and UCSB Police Lt. Matt Bowman presented them with their certificate of completion.

Upon completion of the Citizen’s Academy, the graduates agreed it was an eye-opening experience and they walked feeling better prepared to look out for their safety and the safety of others.

Robin Brown, who survived the Las Vegas Mass Murder incident in October of 2017 said, “I wanted to learn how to respond to situations like that in the future since they tend to be growing in frequency.  By participating, I’ve been able to grow stronger and more aware of my surroundings.”

Maria Pacheco, a driving school secretary said, “I really enjoyed the scenarios.  It gave me an opportunity to see what deputies do.”

UCSB Sociology Major, Anthony Lameli said, “It was a great opportunity to gain insight on what law enforcement does in our community.”

Senior Deputy Dave Valadez, who has been running the South County Citizen’s Academy for the past six years said, “Every class is special and this one was no exception.  This class was unique in that most of them are looking to don a badge and help us keep the peace.  In that regard, sharing that will amongst each other, participating in this Academy was a tremendous honor for me.”

Organizers plan to hold more Citizens’ Academies in different areas of Santa Barbara County in the near future to allow more people to participate.  To find out when the next Citizen’s Academy is, sign up for Nixle alerts on our website at  or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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