There could be a new sheriff in town by the beginning of the summer, as candidates begin lining up to square off for the position of Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Coroner.
The county is not holding elections until June 6, but applicants for the position of sheriff-coroner began officially announcing their candidacy on Feb. 13. Bob Smith, a representative from the Santa Barbara Elections Office, said prospective candidates have until March 10 to register for the June elections. Smith said four people have shown an interest in the position so far, including current Sheriff-Coroner Jim Anderson.
The other candidates for the position include Lompoc Police Chief Lt. Bill Brown and two former sheriff-coroners, Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi and Lt. Jim Thomas. According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. website, the sheriff-coroner is the head law enforcement officer in the county and is in command of the entire Sheriff’s Dept.
Arnoldi, a UCSB alumnus, has worked for the Sheriff’s Dept. for more than 27 years, and at one point was in charge of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol. Thomas was sheriff-coroner for 12 years before stepping down in 2002 to participate in local politics.
Anderson, who was elected to the office in 2002, said he is running for re-election because he still has a number of plans he would like to implement before he leaves the position.
“I have positive projects in process that I’d like to carry out before I retire,” Anderson said. “I’ve told voters I will run for no more than three terms.”
Anderson said the Sheriff’s Dept. is working closely with I.V. and the surrounding areas, and his top priority as sheriff-coroner is keeping UCSB and the neighboring community safe.
Smith said any large group of voters is capable of influencing the outcome of the elections, so UCSB students who are registered to vote in Santa Barbara could have a significant impact on the election results.
I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Mark Williams said the Sheriff’s Dept. is also hiring for a number of other positions. He said the department is currently trying to fill more jobs than usual, since many deputies have recently left the organization.
“We’re down a number of deputies, and we are now in a constant state of hiring,” Williams said.
Williams said most UCSB alumni have no significant advantage when applying to work for the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept., but people who participated in volunteer programs or were Community Service Organization officers have a better chance of being considered for positions with the department.