Santa Barbara, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office proudly announces the selection of Gary Warkentin as its new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), an executive-level position that leads the agency’s Operations Support and Financial Support Divisions. These two divisions include the various bureaus and units responsible for providing the agency’s Human Resources, Training, Public Safety Dispatch, Criminal Records, Judicial Services, Contract Services, Financial Services, Systems & Technology and Special Services functions. Warkentin began his Sheriff’s Office service on Monday, January 8, 2024.
Warkentin brings with him over two decades of experience in a wide variety of positions with the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Defense University and the Department of Defense. His most recent role as Chief of Staff in the DoD’s Performance Improvement Directorate showcased his ability to facilitate effective decision-making and project management, and to execute strategic initiatives with a broad impact.
Throughout his career Warkentin served in a variety of other important positions, including as an Air Force Firefighter, as a First Sergeant in Air Force Special Operations, as a Group Practice Manager at a federal medical center, as Executive Assistant to the President of the National Defense University, as a Supervisory Program Manager for the Department of Homeland Security, and as the Chief of the Audit Management Division for the Department of Defense. His experience in these critical roles, coupled with his proven commitment to excellence, makes him an invaluable asset to enhance the administrative, financial, and operational support functions of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office.
Warkentin holds a Master of Science in Health Sciences, Emergency and Disaster Management from Trident University, and six additional college degrees. He is the recipient of numerous federal military and civilian awards, decorations and medals, including four Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, the Air Force and Army Achievement Medals, the Gallant Unit Citation, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Department of Homeland Security’s Award for Excellence and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. His unique blend of education and professional experience will help the Sheriff’s Office address many different public safety challenges. Specifically, his exceptional background in legislative and regulatory compliance, personnel management, team building, strategic thinking and policy development will be invaluable in his overseeing the Support Services Branch.
Sheriff Bill Brown said, “Gary’s appointment brings a wealth of knowledge, analytical thinking and strategic expertise to the Sheriff’s Office, and to the people of Santa Barbara County. His impressive array of military, educational, and public service achievements made him the ideal candidate to be our next Chief Administrative Officer. I have no doubt that his leadership and expertise will contribute significantly to the continued success of the Sheriff’s Office. We eagerly welcome him and look forward to his positive impact on our organization.”