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Sheriff’s Office Congratulates the 54th Annual Guerry Award Recipients

Santa Barbara, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office would like to congratulate two Sheriff’s employees who were among the eight recipients honored today, May 8, 2024, with a prestigious H. Thomas Guerry Award. The honors were handed out at a ceremony held at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor’s Hearing Room attended by personnel from local law enforcement agencies and local dignitaries as well as family and friends of those being recognized.

The H. Thomas Guerry Award is named after a Santa Barbara Police Department Officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1970.  Every year in his memory, the Santa Barbara Citizen’s Council on Crime recognizes excellence in law enforcement in Santa Barbara County. This year, Sheriff Brown presented Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Winebrenner and Sergeant Matthew Delgado with the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Superior Performance.

On October 13, 2023, Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Winebrenner and Sergeant Matthew Delgado were on patrol in Santa Maria when dispatch advised them via radio of a possible drunk driver who had almost caused a collision and had parked in front of a liquor store in a red Ford Mustang.

Deputy Winebrenner and Sergeant Delgado arrived at the location and found the driver sitting in his car talking on his cellphone, with the driver’s door partially open. Deputy Winebrenner approached the driver and observed an open alcohol container in the center console. He asked the man to step out of his car, but he ignored the order stating he was “on the phone.” Deputy Winebrenner repeated the command and the man placed one foot out of the car but began reaching around the passenger side of the car.

Calmly, Deputy Winebrenner told the man to stop reaching in the car, but the man had retrieved a large steak knife and was beginning to get out of the car. Deputy Winebrenner relayed to Sergeant Delgado that the man was armed with a knife, and both deputies drew their duty weapons.

The man was holding his cellphone in one hand and the knife in the other. With Deputy Winebrenner providing cover, Sergeant Delgado transitioned from his firearm to his Taser. He discharged his Taser at the man, but it was ineffective. The man then ran around the front of his car, still holding the knife, and fled. Deputy Winebrenner and Sergeant Delgado pursued the man, who by now, had run into the roadway causing cars to swerve around him.

Sergeant Delgado ran back to his patrol car to retrieve a less-lethal beanbag launcher, and then returned to where Deputy Winebrenner had cornered the man, who was now yelling profanities at them and asking the deputies to “just gun me down.”

Deputy Winebrenner and Sergeant Delgado attempted several verbal de-escalation techniques, but were unsuccessful in calming the man down. When the man made several lunges in their direction with the knife, Sergeant Delgado utilized the less lethal launcher and fired six beanbag rounds at the man.

Finally, the man sat down, placing the knife on the ground next to him, but he was still hovering his hand over it.

With Sergeant Delgado providing cover, Deputy Winebrenner saw an opportunity to rush the man, and knock him to the ground. He was then placed in handcuffs and taken into custody.

Throughout their contact with the intoxicated and aggressive individual, Sergeant Delgado and Deputy Winebrenner remained calm and used excellent communication skills with each other to handle what could have easily been a deadly force situation and resolve it without any injuries to the driver, any member of the community, or themselves.

Sheriff Brown said “Their reverence for human life, their ability to read the situation as it unfolded and to act in unison, as a team, resulted in the safe apprehension of a person who had great potential to cause great harm to them others. Their efforts during this interaction are commendable, and it is with great pleasure that, on behalf of the Santa Barbara Citizens’ Council on Crime, that I present Sgt. Matthew Delgado and Deputy Dusting Winebrenner with the 2024 H. Thomas Guerry Award for Superior Performance.”

The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the Santa Barbara Citizens Council on Crime for putting on the H. Thomas Guerry Awards for the past 54 years and for providing an opportunity to recognize law enforcement personnel who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve their community.

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