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Sandra Brown Challenging Her Boss for County Sheriff

Calling for 'Action, Not Words,' she says residents need a leader who will 'think ahead and plan ahead' and 'keep politics out of public safety'

Sgt. Sandra Brown announced Wednesday that she will run for sheriff of Santa Barbara County in the June 3, 2014, primary election.
Sgt. Sandra Brown announced Wednesday that she will run for sheriff of Santa Barbara County in the June 3, 2014, primary election.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper | updated logo 9:13 p.m. |

There will be a new sheriff in town if Sgt. Sandra Brown has her way.

Brown, a 16-year veteran of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, announced Wednesday that she intends to run for the seat held by Sheriff Bill Brown, of no relation, who has served two terms in the post since 2006.

Touting a message calling for “Action, Not Words,” Brown said she’ll be running in the June 3, 2014, primary election.

She currently serves as detective sergeant in the Special Investigations Bureau of the Coroner’s Office, and did not mince words in her statement put out Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County “needs a proactive sheriff who will put deputies back on the streets, ensure they have the training and equipment to protect the public, and stop using public safety as a political pawn in budget battles with the Board of Supervisors,” she said.

Before coming to the Coroner’s Office, Brown worked as a narcotics detective, an Isla Vista senior deputy, a community resource deputy for the city of Buellton, and as an agent for the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Enforcement Team.

She is also a co-founder of the Deputy “Explorer” program, a past director of Education for Santa Maria Fighting Back, was named Goleta’s Public Servant of the Year, and has been involved in the Santa Barbara County chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Commission.

Brown sat down with Noozhawk on Wednesday to talk about why she chose to run now, and what she thinks she can bring to the job.

Working in the Coroner’s Office has allowed Brown to see county crime trends as they’re happening, she said, and that data, like that of prescription drug-abuse deaths, could be used to coordinate larger policy in the department.  

The death of 18-year-old Giselle Ayala, who was found dead on April 6 in the wake of the massive street party known as Deltopia, was also on Brown’s mind, as well as the continual problems with student safety in Isla Vista.

“I want to hear what we’re doing to change that,” she said. “We’re hearing silence, and that’s not leading.”

Brown asserts that “morale has never been lower” among the sheriff’s staff.  “[Bill Brown] has given up on the mission of the department… He puts [staff] on mute.”

The incumbent sheriff has failed in numerous areas, she said, including closing the North County Jail, understaffing of the county gang unit, and ignoring increases in violent crime in Isla Vista.

She said Brown failed to anticipate the impacts of Assembly Bill 109, the “public safety realignment bill” aimed at reducing overcrowding, costs and recidivism in state prisons by allowing more convicted criminals to serve their sentences in county jails.

“Santa Barbara County needs a sheriff who can think ahead and plan ahead, a sheriff who will keep politics out of public safety, and provide the staffing required to address the problems we face,” she said. “Simply blaming the Board of Supervisors or the bad economy for budget cuts is not effective leadership.”

Sheriff Bill Brown responded later Wednesday, saying that the office doesn’t belong to any single person, but the people, and that his opponent was welcome to run for the spot.

However, “I intend on mounting a vigorous campaign,” he said. “It’s 13 months until the primary election, and for the time being, I’m going to be focused on running the organization.”

If elected, one of the first things Brown said she’d like to do is hear all of the voices throughout the department, such as the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and SEIU, to ask where they’re seeing issues that need to be addressed.

“We’re going to plug away and fix those things as a family,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 05.01.13 @ 04:53 PM

Will she crack down on Mexican illegal aliens and Mexican anchor baby gangs?

Santa Barbara is turning into dirty T.J Mexico.

» on 05.02.13 @ 01:39 AM

Great! I wonder how many morons in the electorate will get confused since both candidates have the last name.

» on 05.02.13 @ 01:47 AM

She’s got my vote!  Bill Brown is a fat cat crony who plays politics before public safety.  Time for a change, but lets hope she’s sincere!

» on 05.02.13 @ 04:44 AM

She had me until that last statement about pandering to the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the SEIU.

» on 05.02.13 @ 01:12 PM

What’s her view on concealed carry for self-defense?

» on 05.02.13 @ 08:15 PM

If elected (please, God), her PRIORITY needs to be dealing with the growing number of “officer-involved” shootings on our public streets AND the somehow-always-unexplained DEATHS of inmates while in custody.  These inmates, while accused, remain innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.  The draconian conditions in the jail and the insane administration of that facility are the stuff of legend.  If she plays footsie with that corrupt bozo Joyce Dudley they way the current sheriff has, we’re only going to see more of the same.  No one is safe in SB with the storm-troopers we have on our streets and the support they get with Dudley’s “investigations”.

» on 05.06.13 @ 12:00 AM

Interloper is certainly correct in the statement that “Bill Brown is a fat cat crony who plays politics before public safety” to the extent that crime statistics are based on politics, not crime - cronyism includes the policy of refusal by sheriff’s deputies (as well as SBPD)to record or file reports of crimes committed by cronies,as well as blatantly biasing reports against those who file reports against the same cronies. Sandra Brown must be aware of this policy,so her statement regarding crime trends is a bit suspect. In addition, her website on prison realignment includes biased data on realignment and alternative sentencing, supporting the incarceration of offenders rather than alternatives that reduce crime and rehabilitate offenders at a much lower cost to communities. As a member of the Narcotic Task Force, she must have been involved in some of the arrests of innocent providers of legal medical marijuana (one of these cases of false is scheduled for May 15 in Santa Maria), depriving patients of legal medicine in violation of California law and supporting drug cartels at the expense of taxpayers. Alienating teenagers by feeding them politically motivated garbage in regarding drugs in Fighting Back isn’t a very positive recommendation, either. Sandra Brown sounds like an intelligent,skilled, savvy person, and a woman sheriff is a definite asset in a misogynistic LE culture. She hasn’t given any indication that she supports any progressive and cost-cutting measures as did Jim Anderson, who advocated discontinuing the expensive DARE program that has never influenced drug use among young people. We really need a change in SB, and we don’t need a new sheriff with “same old” views. She’s got my vote over Bill Brown, but we really can’t afford a “same old” approach to LE.

» on 05.06.13 @ 12:51 PM


I’m continually amazed by the ignorant who post on all these blogs. It has to be the same individuals, I can’t believe their are that many tin foil hats out there…

Can any of you conspiracy freaks out there give an example of deputies or police not arresting cronies?? How about giving an example of the deputy sheriffs association doing something wrong or demanding the cronies downtown giving them something for not arresting them. If it weren’t so funny it would be painful.

Why wouldn’t she want to work with the deputy sheriffs association? Isn’t working together working on the public’s behalf? What do you think is happening right now? There is a total disconnect between the sheriff and his employees. That does not work well on behalf of the public’s interest. The sheriff talks about loyalty but that loyalty is a one way street and is only for public viewing. Once away from public view the sheriff is completely opposite of his words. Nobody trusts the man.

It’s time for change.

» on 05.06.13 @ 12:57 PM

Damn, I missed one paragraph,

However, “I intend on mounting a vigorous campaign,” he said. “It’s 13 months until the primary election, and for the time being, I’m going to be focused on running the organization.”

Oh NOW you are going to be focused on running the department. Just like a seasoned politician, every time his lips move his noses grows longer.

You crack me up Bill…...

» on 05.06.13 @ 11:35 PM

Continually amazed: Thanks for the support -an excellent example. Since you state you’ve seen previous comments you’re obviously aware of details, so forget the facts and stick to character assassination and ridicule. According to your definition, this is a conspiracy theory. According to mine, it’s policy. Not sure what you refer to as the ignorance of other commenters - are they ignorant of their personal experiences and those of family and friends, or of details of cases reported in news media? I assume you don’t consider yourself ignorant, since you don’t seem capable of using the word appropriately, but “their” is a pronoun that means belonging to them. I’m continually amazed at LE denial of facts that local attorneys consider LE SOP, a policy.

» on 05.07.13 @ 12:06 PM


No character assassination here just pointing out facts. Oh, and thanks for pointing out that I used “their” instead of “there” I appreciate your spell check button.

Since YOU talk about facts here is what you posted with zero facts to back up your BS. So please give me details to this statement with facts, “cronyism includes the policy of refusal by sheriff’s deputies (as well as SBPD)to record or file reports of crimes committed by cronies,as well as blatantly biasing reports against those who file reports against the same cronies.” You also made this absurd statement, “she must have been involved in some of the arrests of innocent providers of legal medical marijuana”. There is NO legal marijuana. Just because Calif. passed an illegal law does not make MJ legal. Ca. law does not supercede Federal law. But don’t let facts get in your way right 14noscams. Please, if you are going to bring facts to the table at least bring facts to the table.

Next, if you want to bring personal facts or experiences to the fight you have to first admit that most who have been cited or arrested for a violation or crime are ALREADY biased against LE because most can’t admit they have done something wrong. Now lets talk about lawyers. Lawyers talking about LE policy right? That’s their job!! You can hire a lawyer to say what ever you want. Their job is to confuse people like you into believing everything LE does is wrong or suspect. Get with the program here.

So yes 14noscams I may not be a scholar but I am continually amazed at ignorance…

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