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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 2:36 am | Fair 40º


Santa Barbara Police Officer Accused of Indecent Exposure

Brian Sawicki is placed on administrative leave after his arrest at Refugio State Beach

Santa Barbara police officer Brian Kenneth Sawicki has been placed on administrative leave after his off-duty arrest Monday for indecent exposure at Refugio State Beach.

Brian Kenneth Sawicki
Brian Kenneth Sawicki

About 3:20 p.m. Monday, two teenage girls were walking along a trail when they noticed a man walking behind them, according to public information officer Drew Sugars, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. The girls walked back toward the campground and saw the man again, who was lying down and masturbating.

Sugars said the girls alerted an on-duty state park ranger. While the girls were being interviewed, they saw the man and pointed him out to the ranger. The suspect saw the ranger approaching and ran away. After a foot pursuit, the suspect was caught and arrested, Sugars said.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested Sawicki, 33, on misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a child under 18, indecent exposure and obstructing/resisting a police officer. He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on $2,500 bail.

Upon learning of the incident, Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez ordered Sawicki placed on administrative leave.

“I am shocked and deeply disappointed that a member of my department is the subject of this investigation,” Sanchez said, “but I want to assure the public that the department is taking all necessary steps to ensure the public is protected and the investigation is completed in a fair and impartial manner.”

The Santa Barbara Police Department is handling the administrative investigation; the sheriff’s department is handling the criminal investigation.

Sawicki will remain on administrative leave while the investigation is pending, Santa Barbara Lt. Paul McCaffrey said. While on leave, Sawicki has no police powers and has surrendered his police badge, identification and department-issued weapon.

Noozhawk staff writer Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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