With the inauguration over and many still recovering from the last election, a local sheriff’s announcement to halt plans for a fourth term has sent three candidates’ 2002 campaigns into gear.

In November, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Dept.’s current sheriff, Jim Thomas, announced he would not seek re-election after completing his third four-year term in the position. Since the announcement, three Santa Barbara County Sheriff Dept. officials have announced their candidacy for sheriff in the 2002 elections: retired Undersheriff Dave Dorsey, Commander Jim Anderson and Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Butch Arnoldi.

Thomas, whose term does not end until January 2003, said he announced his retirement early in order to let candidates prepare their campaigns for the Nov. 13, 2001 filing deadline. The three candidates have all been with the Sheriff Dept. for at least 25 years, and list main issues such as improving the community/law enforcement relations and the construction of a north county jail.

Dorsey said his experience in the number-two position in the sheriff’s administration has prepared him for the job as sheriff and distinguishes him from the other candidates.

"I believe all the candidates are good, honest men. They are all doing jobs that I have done in the past," he said. "What distinguishes me from them today, is that I understand how the challenges of the position of sheriff are handled, which is quite different from being in patrol or detectives or the jail."

Dorsey, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara County, said the best way to prevent crime is through education and communication with the community.

"The ultimate crime-prevention tool is the education of youth, helping them to understand the uselessness of violence, the self-destruction of drugs and show them positive ways to achieve self-respect," he said. "As sheriff, I will emphasize communication with the community, continue to promote community-oriented policing and encourage citizen involvement."

Anderson said he will continue to provide the best service possible to the community as sheriff, and expressed the necessity of a north county jail facility.

"There has been an overcrowding in the main Santa Barbara jail for almost 10 years," he said. "We are under court order to let the prisoners out early to relieve this problem. This poses a danger to the community."

Anderson, a resident of Santa Barbara County for the last 37 years, said improving officer/community relations is another high priority for his campaign.

"I want to improve service to the public and really partner with the community," he said. "The Isla Vista Foot Patrol is an excellent example of that."

IVFP’s Arnoldi said his extensive police experience, combined with three years in I.V., makes him the best candidate for the job.

"I think the three years I’ve been working in I.V. with the community and building a good relationship has been a good model for the position," he said. "I’d like to expand that to the rest of Santa Barbara. I’m very much into community, communication and helping out the population as a whole."

Arnoldi, a native Santa Barbara resident, said, if elected, he plans to focus his energies on the creation of a north county jail facility and improving public safety.

"I want to get back to basics, especially with the possibility of Goleta becoming a city. Patrol is important in order to make it safe, not only for Goleta, but for the unincorporated areas as well," he said. "I will be sheriff to all the people and will uphold the law to the best of my ability."

Arnoldi said his unmatched crime reduction record as IVFP lieutenant qualifies him for the position.

"I’m proud to say that in the three years I’ve been working in I.V., working together with the community, Part I crimes – the most serious – have been reduced by over 25 percent," he said. "No one else in the department can say that. All other stations have increased by 3 percent or more."