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From Our Inbox: Letters to the Editor for Week Ending April 13, 2018

At a time when the relationship between public safety agencies is paramount, we need to consider who is best suited to work cooperatively as the voice and leader of our Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department going forward.

Sheriff Bill Brown, without a doubt, has had a long and distinguished 40-year public safety career. He deserves every personal honor he has earned. He is a fine man and has a wonderful family, and I publicly supported him in his last election.

However, the sheriff has since lost the support of his own rank and file, the majority of the county Board of Supervisors who will regulate the Sheriff’s Department budget next year, our county’s firefighters, emergency managers, and so many more.

The men and women of the Sheriff’s Department are more important than the person who holds the elected position. As a former 12-year elected sheriff and three-year appointed county fire chief, I learned that there comes a time when change is good and necessary. I believe, for the Sheriff’s Department, that time is now.

Of the three candidates for the office of sheriff, I believe Lt. Brian Olmstead is the best choice to lead the department going forward. Lt. Olmstead is a highly experienced law enforcement professional. He is smart, well educated, and will surround himself with the best available men and women who understand the mission of the agency and the necessity to keep staffing adequate to accomplish the variety of challenges they face 24 hours a day.

Lt. Olmstead has received the public support of the vast majority of the deputy sheriffs and custody deputies, and the Sheriff’s and Fire Dispatcher’s Association. It should be noted that they have not opposed Sheriff Brown in either of his previous three elections.

Lt. Olmstead is also supported by the Santa Barbara County Firefighters and Santa Maria Police Officers’ associations, and I believe you will see more public safety professionals joining his campaign very soon. These are the men and women who are the first line of contact and support during the challenges we all face on a daily basis. They know who they trust to lead them into the future, and they ask for your support now.

They, and I, ask that you vote for Lt. Brian Olmstead for sheriff on June 5.

Jim Thomas
Santa Barbara County sheriff, 1990-2002
Santa Barbara County fire chief, 1993-1996

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I really don’t understand the lengths that Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Voysey seems to be going to accommodate Jensen Buchanan, the drunken driver who nearly killed another driver on Highway 154. At almost every step of the way, it appears that she is being treated with far more leniency than any of the rest of us could expect. Why?

Bree Morris
Santa Barbara

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