Proud and Honored to be Your Sheriff
“I am humbled to have been elected by – and to serve – the people of Santa Barbara County. It is my honor and privilege to lead the men and women of our Sheriff’s Office, some of the finest law enforcement and corrections professionals on the planet.”
Bill Brown has served as Santa Barbara County’s Sheriff-Coroner since January 9, 2007. He was first elected to that constitutional office on November 7, 2006, and re-elected to a second term in June, 2010, to a third term in June, 2014, to a fourth term in June, 2018, and to his present fifth term in June, 2022.
Beginning his law enforcement career in 1977 with the Pacifica Police Department in the San Francisco Bay area, Bill Brown transferred to the Inglewood Police Department in 1980. He served that Los Angeles County community as a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant and acting-captain until 1992, when he was selected as chief of police for the City of Moscow, Idaho. In that position he was responsible for overseeing police operations for both the City of Moscow and the University of Idaho. In 1995, Brown was selected as chief of police for the City of Lompoc, being only the eighth person to hold the title of police chief in that community since it incorporated in 1899. He led the Lompoc Police Department for the next 11 years until being elected to his present office.
Sheriff Brown received his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California in 1995. He was president of the 91st Class of the Delinquency Control Institute, and is a graduate of the Northwest Command College, the 169th Session of the FBI National Academy, and the 33rd Session of the FBI National Executive Institute.
Sheriff Brown was elected by his peers as President of the Major County Sheriffs of America and began his two-year term on February 9, 2024. Sheriff Brown is also a past president of both the California State Sheriffs’ Association and the California Police Chiefs’ Association, the only person to have ever held both positions. Since 2010 he has served as a Commissioner on the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission for the State of California, and he leads Santa Barbara County’s version of “Stepping Up,” a National Initiative to Reduce the Number of Mentally Ill People in Jails. In 2022 Sheriff Brown started “Project Opioid” in Santa Barbara County, an initiative that regularly convenes a diverse group of high-level, county-wide leaders committed to raising awareness about, and reducing the number of overdose deaths from fentanyl and other illicit drugs. He is also Chairman of the Santa Barbara County Law Enforcement Chiefs (C.L.E.C.).
In 2016, Sheriff Brown was selected by the California Peace Officers’ Association for their highest honor, the Sherman Block Law Enforcement Professional of the Year award. He has also received the Westmont Medal from Westmont College, and the Goleta Elks Outstanding Service Award, both for his leadership during the twin disasters of the Thomas Fire and the Montecito 1/9 Debris Flow. Some of his other accolades include the Santa Barbara County Rescue Mission’s Léni Fé Bland Award, the Santa Barbara County Community Action Commission’s Community Champion Award, the California Forensic Mental Health Association’s Words to Deeds Paradigm Award, and their Christine M. West award for significant contributions to the field of forensic mental health.
Active in his community, Sheriff Brown serves as an honorary board member for the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center and Santa Barbara Domestic Violence Solutions, as an advisory board member of the Anti-Defamation League and the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, and as a Red Cross Ambassador for the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is also a steering committee member for Santa Barbara’s “Fighting Back” (Against Alcohol & Drug Abuse), sits on the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and is a member of the Pierre Claeyssens’ Veterans Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Sheriff Brown is deeply committed to the philosophy of community policing and corrections, wherein peace officers and citizens work together to identify and seek long-term solutions to problems relating to crime, fear of crime, neighborhood decay and quality of life. Sheriff Brown and his wife, Donna, have been happily married for more than 45 years and have three grown children.