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Citizen’s Academy Graduates Get Behind-the-Scenes Look at Law Enforcement

Program's 38 participants viewed jail, fired a handgun and learned about Sheriff's Office's daily activities.

Citizen’s Academy grads a diverse group ranging in age from 18-82.
Citizen’s Academy grads a diverse group ranging in age from 18-82. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office)

After eight weeks of interactive classes, 38 Santa Barbara County residents graduated on Nov. 12 from the Citizen’s Academy. Participants ranged from 18 to 82 years of age with different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives. The group included students, business owners, an author, media members, activists and retirees, just to name a few.

This is the largest Citizen’s Academy class and the second time the Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with UCSB, the UCSB Police Department and the city of Goleta to put on the free program.  

The Citizen’s Academy is designed to give the public an inside look at some of what law enforcement does on a daily basis to keep its citizens safe. During the program, participants toured the jail, fired a handgun, took interactive classes in active shooter training, use of force, search and seizure law, building searches, and arrest and control.

On graduation day, the participants finished their last two classes at the Sheriff’s Training Bureau. They watched a K-9 demonstration followed by a presentation from Sheriff Bill Brown on the history of the Sheriff’s Office. The group then received certificates of completion at a graduation ceremony and celebratory barbecue.

Upon completion of the Citizen’s Academy, graduate Ken Partch, a retired stockbroker, said, “I wanted to know the story of the Sheriff’s Office and I was pleasantly surprised. Now I can help tell their story.”

UCSB student Sean Shuster said, “After going through this course I now see that law enforcement are not just robots walking around with a gun and a badge. They are meaningful members of the Santa Barbara community as a whole.”

Organizers plan to hold more Citizens’ Academies in different areas of Santa Barbara County in the near future to allow more people to participate. To find out when the next Citizen’s Academy is, sign up for Nixle alerts at www.sbsheriff.org.

— Kelly Hoover for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

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