Four candidates vie for county Sheriff-Coroner

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Four candidates vie for county Sheriff-Coroner By Karen White — Staff Writer 2/1/02 Four candidates, all veteran law enforcement officers, are competing in the March 5 primary for the seat to be vacated by Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Coroner Jim Thomas. The post has a yearly salary range of $122,028 to $148,968. Thomas, retiring at the end of the year, has thrown his weight to one candidate, former undersheriff Dave Dorsey. A group of other sheriff’s administrators also support Dorsey. But the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, representing the largest mass of sheriff’s employees, is supporting another candidate, Jim Anderson. This group gave Anderson $50,000 to assist in his campaign. Also in the contest are Ugo Peter “Butch” Arnoldi, a sheriff’s administrator best known in Santa Barbara, and Roger Aceves, a detective with the Santa Barbara Police Department. They have limited exposure, especially in the north county. Most persons questions in the 200-plus member department consider the race to be between Anderson and Dorsey. It is possible that no clear winner, with 50 percent plus one vote, will come out of the primary with four candidates. One major issue, debated for more than four years, is the need for a second Santa Barbara County Jail for the northern end of the county and how to fund the facility. Voters rejected a bond issue to finance the jail. Also under debate by the candidates is political involvement by the sheriff. Thomas has been quite involved in the local political scene, including his support of Dorsey. Anderson said he will not be a “political sheriff.” “I will take politics out of the office of sheriff. I am not a politician. A career law enforcement officer should not endorse candidates.” Richard Aceves Aceves, 46, is the first candidate for sheriff from the Santa Barbara Police Department since 1917, and if elected, would be the second Latino sheriff since 1879. A 24-year veteran of law enforcement, Aceves has been with the SBPD for 20 years and now works in the major crimes division. He has been the city’s senior hostage negotiator and has worked in all three divisions in the police agency. Jim Anderson Originally tagged as an underdog candidate best known in the north county, Anderson announced his plan to compete for sheriff in early 2001. Anderson, at 46, is a 25-year veteran of the department. He’s running a grassroots campaign, with backing for the police officer associations in most of the Central Coast. Reared in Lompoc, Anderson has been a county resident 37 years and has a master’s degree in criminal justice earned in 1995, as well as a bachelor’s degree in management in 1979. His past sheriff’s assignments are varied. He was Santa Maria station commander from 1997 to 1998, after serving from Lompoc station commander and acting police chief for the City of Buellton from 1991 to 1997. He commanded the sheriff’s main jail from 1998 to 1999, and now manages the branch jail system. Anderson also has been strongly involved in the search for a site for the proposed North County jail somewhere in the Santa Maria Valley. This would be one of Anderson’s key priorities as sheriff. But he will in no way propose an income tax to finance the jail, as Thomas did. Instead, he will look to grants and regular funding sources. Ugo Peter Arnoldi “Butch” Arnoldi has more than 27 years of service with the sheriff’s department, including three years as the Isla Vista Foot Patrol station commander. He is currently coastal operations station commander. Arnoldi served on the Deputy Sheriff’s Association board for 18 years, 14 of those as president. He served on the Sheriff’s Managers Association board for four years, was on the county Health Oversight Committee for 11 years and was on the county employees safety and relations committees. He said he believes in community-oriented policing, teamwork, cooperation and a proactive philosophy. Arnoldi is known for his community activities. He has been involved in the Explorer program as an advisor, Special Olympics, United Way, Christmas Unity, Santa Barbara County Charitable Giving Committee and is a member of the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge and Santa Barbara Knights of Columbus Lodge. David S. Dorsey A native of Santa Barbara County, Dave Dorsey attended local schools and acquired an undergraduate degree in Administration of Justice at Santa Barbara City College. While a working sheriff’s deputy and parent, Dorsey continued his education at Cal State Long Beach University and Southern California, then studied law for one year. Dorsey rose through the ranks, and after graduating from the FBI National Academy he served as commander in charge of custody operations, then the countywide law enforcement operations and finally the administrative and support operations. He served as assistant sheriff under then-Sheriff John Carpenter. He then served in the same position, second in command, when Sheriff Jim Thomas won election in 1990. Dorsey’s primary responsibility was to manage a $60 million dollar budget and the day-to-day operations of the department involving 680 employees. He received the Thomas H. Guerry Award for outstanding performance, won the sheriff’s department Distinguished Service Award and was county Manager of the Year. :nav Source:

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