Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 30
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department hires a record 17 custody deputies
BY AMY ASMAN
On Sept. 30, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officials swore in and handed badges to 17 new custody deputies. It was the largest custody deputy hiring ceremony in the agency’s history.
The new hires are Christopher Norling, Brandon Hansen, Jim Myers, Jeremy Barnett, Erich Winter, Gino Cecchetto, Justin Haney, Paul Otero, Christopher Markham, Andrew Long, Lars Burkhardt, Frankie Castillo Junior, Ryan Southwick, Jake Malone, Marc Pericho, Roberto Gutierrez, and Cassandra Marking.
“They will fill current vacancies brought on by retirements, promotions, and departures,” department spokesperson Kelly Hoover said.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the deputies went through an extensive hiring process that included “vigorous training and a comprehensive background check.” Out of about 500 applicants, only 17 individuals made it to the end of the process.
The new deputies, along with three other recently hired employees, will attend a 10-week academy training to prepare them to work in the Santa Barbara County Jail.
Hoover said the department is looking for more people to fill vacancies at the jail in Santa Barbara as well as at the new North County Jail, which is currently in the design phase and slated to open its doors in 2018.
Both of Sheriff Bill Brown’s competitors in the June 2014 election—Sgt. Sandra Brown and UCSB police officer Ryan Smith—have criticized the sheriff for his hiring processes and the use of overtime hours in the jail. The department has lost 67 full-time positions in the last six years.
When asked about the department’s hiring process, Hoover told the Sun in an e-mail, “… due to budgetary cuts the last several years, we held off on filling some of the vacancies until our most recent status quo budget allowed us take a breath and feel comfortable to begin filling these positions.
“Despite the vacancies we have had and the low staffing levels at the jail, we are still committed to finding the most qualified candidates to fill these positions and are not willing to compromise our hiring standards,” Hoover said. “The challenge in this last batch of hires was not finding candidates, as we had more than 500 people apply, it was the time it took to process the applications.”
She explained that the hiring process to become a custody deputy takes several months and involves a comprehensive background check that takes considerable time, especially if the applicant lives out of the area.
“While these background checks take time, it is important that we go through this process to ensure that we are hiring individuals of strong moral character and integrity to work in our jail, which is a stressful environment,” she said.
For more information about the open positions, visit sbsheriff.org.