Three Santa Maria bailiffs hang it up By Quintin Cushner/Staff Writer Sgt. Charlie Ward, left, and Deputy Armando Moreno are two of three veteran bailiffs at the Santa Maria Courthouse who are retiring March 26.//Aaron Lambert/StaffBailiffs, those courtroom deputies in charge of transporting inmates and enforcing security, typically operate without much fanfare. But on Friday, more than 200 people are expected to attend a luncheon to honor three retiring bailiffs for their service to the Sheriff’s Department and its court services division. Sgt. Charles Ward and deputies Armando Moreno and Steve Jones will be honored at a noon luncheon at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge No. 1538, 1309 N. Bradley Road. Tickets, which cost $10, are available at the court’s civil clerks building at 312 E. Cook St. in Santa Maria. Ward, 60, of Santa Maria, has for the past seven years supervised the 15 bailiffs who work in northern Santa Barbara County. For 25 years before that, he performed various other jobs at the Sheriff’s Department. In his tenure at the courts complex, he’s weathered the civil trial of Michael Jackson and the onset of this year’s criminal proceedings against the pop singer. “Crowds can be fanatical,” said Ward of what he’s observed from his experience working Jackson’s court appearances. Ward said that he has enjoyed his career, though continuing budget cuts have made his work more challenging, and occasionally frustrating. Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ross Ruth will be replacing Ward as the supervisor of all North County bailiffs, Ward said. Retiring deputy Moreno, 57, has most recently worked as a bailiff in Judge Rodney Melville’s courtroom. “He’s highly organized,” Melville – the judge in the current Jackson case – said of the retiring Moreno. “And we really like his sense of humor. He’s really good at breaking tension in the courtroom.” In his retirement, Moreno looks forward to golfing, gardening and spending time with family. Jones, the third retiring bailiff, has worked in Judge Zel Canter’s courtroom for a little more than a year. Jones, 56, has spent the past 26 years working for the Sheriff’s Department. * Staff writer Quintin Cushner can be reached at 739-2217 or by e-mail at qcushner@pulitzer.net. March 23, 2004

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *