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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:25 pm | Fair 67º


Citizen’s Academy Graduates 34 Santa Barbara County Residents

Participants get inside look at nuts and bolts of Sheriff’s Office

Citizen’s Academy participants show gun range targets.
Citizen’s Academy participants show gun range targets. (Courtesy photo)

After seven weeks of interactive classes, 34 Santa Barbara County residents graduated Nov. 17 from the Citizen’s Academy. Participants ranged from 18-45 years of age with different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives.

The group included students, entrepreneurs, educators, social service workers, university staff and medical professionals. The Sheriff’s Office collaborated with 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 just some of what law enforcement does on a daily basis to keep its citizens safe. 

During the course of 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.

The Citizen’s Academy is also geared for community members interested in a career in law enforcement/public safety and is a great recruitment tool for the Sheriffs’ Office.

The participants completed their last class, a K-9 demonstration, at the Sheriff’s Training Bureau on Saturday. Then they received their certificates of completion at a graduation ceremony and celebratory barbecue attended by family, friends, their instructors and past Citizen Academy graduates.

Upon completion of the Citizen’s Academy, the graduates agreed it was an eye-opening experience and they walked feeling better prepared to look out for their safety and the safety of others.

Robin Brown, who survived the Las Vegas Mass Murder incident in October 2017 said, “I wanted to learn how to respond to situations like that in the future since they tend to be growing in frequency.  By participating, I’ve been able to grow stronger and more aware of my surroundings.”

“I really enjoyed the scenarios,” said Maria Pacheco, a driving school secretary. “It gave me an opportunity to see what deputies do.”

“It was a great opportunity to gain insight on what law enforcement does in our community,” said Anthony Lameli, a UCSB sociology major.

“Every class is special and this one was no exception,” said Sr. Deputy Dave Valadez, who has been running the South County Citizen’s Academy the past six years. “This class was unique in that most of them are looking to don a badge and help us keep the peace.

“In that regard, sharing that will amongst each other, participating in this academy was a tremendous honor for me.”

Organizers plan to hold more citizens’ academies in different areas of Santa Barbara County in the near future to allow more people to participate.  o 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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