Thursday, October 18 , 2018, 4:42 pm | Fair 76º


Sheriff Brown Holds Promotion and Welcome Ceremony

One deputy is promoted to sergeant, and two pilots and a mechanic join the Sheriff’s Department

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown promoted one deputy and welcomed two helicopter pilots and an aviation mechanic during a ceremony Monday morning.

Family, friends and colleagues were in attendance at the event that took place at the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit’s hanger in Santa Ynez.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Matt McFarlin

McFarlin is an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, starting as a reserve deputy in 1994. He has worked as a patrol feputy, narcotics detective, Search and Rescue coordinator and public safety dispatcher.

He also has held collateral positions with the Special Enforcement Team (SWAT) and Mobile Field Force. McFarlin has been assigned to the Coastal Bureau.

Helicopter Pilot Chris Spangenberg

Spangenberg (former Santa Barbara County Fire pilot) was hired with the Sheriff’s Department upon merger of the Fire and Sheriff Aviation programs, creating the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit.

Spangenberg is a Vietnam War veteran who flew with the U.S. Army’s 145th Aviation Battalion. He received numerous medals while serving in the military, and in 1979 joined the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office as a helicopter pilot, receiving two Medals of Valor.

Spangenberg will continue using his vast experience as a pilot with the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit.

Helicopter Pilot Robert Burris

Burris (former Santa Barbara County Fire pilot) was also hired with the Sheriff’s Department upon merger of the Fire and Sheriff Aviation programs.

He started his aviation training in 1980 with the U.S. Marine Corps and flew Sikorsky CH-53 Heavy Lift helicopters. After the Marines, Burris served as a pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard. He has received numerous commendations and medals throughout his military career.

Burris was hired by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department in 2009 and will continue to serve the citizens of Santa Barbara as a pilot with the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit.

Aircraft Mechanic Hector Ponce

Ponce received his initial aircraft mechanic training from the U.S. Air Force in 1977, enabling him to work on the F-4 Phantom while serving his country. After his time in the military he worked as an aircraft mechanic in the private sector in Arizona and California.

For the past five years, Ponce has worked off and on as an aircraft mechanic for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. He now joins the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit as a full-time employee.

— Sgt. Mark Williams is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.


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