Twelve new Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputy recruits, including six who will work in custody operations, graduated from Hancock College's Public Safety Academy in two separate ceremonies this week.
The six new custody deputies were in a class that graduated from the CORE Custody Academy on Tuesday, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Raquel Zick. Additionally, six new deputies graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy on Wednesday and will work in patrol operations.
The 12 deputies were sworn in by Sheriff Bill Brown shortly before their graduation ceremonies, which were socially distanced in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, according to Zick.
The six custody deputies include Jose Blanco, Wei-Chieh Shih, Salvador Vargas, Samuel Villegas, Lia Welkom and Glenn Williams, who graduated after receiving 220 hours of course instruction.
Some of the courses included emergency planning in a custody facility, report writing, ethics, investigation procedures, classification of inmates, contraband detection, arrest and control, physical training and direct supervision training.
Welkom was honored as the class valedictorian, while Blanco received the Ron Battles Award and Vargas earned the Leadership Award.
The six patrol deputies include Steven Cruz, Emanuel DeAlba, Yeshella Jimenez, Tyler Odekirk, Christopher Portman and Harrison Tabora, who graduated after completing 751 hours of instruction over the past six months.
Odekirk was the co-valedictorian and also earned the Marksmanship Award, Physical Fitness Award and Scenarios Award.
The patrol deputies will continue their law enforcement education in the Sheriff's Office's Field Training Program. After completing the program, they will patrol Santa Barbara County as solo deputies, according to Zick.
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