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Cops are going through a bit of a rough patch these days. Lots complaints about improper behavior, ranging from attitude to possibly murder.

The ubiquitous cellphone camera and its ability to capture every detail has been added to the mix, to such an extent that many police departments now arm their officers with body cameras. Everyone has a recording device.

Have you ever wondered where the word “cop” originated? Many believe it started in New York City generations ago, because NYPD blues carried copper-colored shields.

In fact, “cop” is an abbreviation of “copper,” which was first heard in London in the early 1700s. The Oxford Dictionary defines “copper” as “someone who captures.” And in the case of police, that’s mostly their job.

Police work, like most everything else, has changed over the years. Walking a beat or riding in a patrol car is exponentially more complicated today than it was just a few decades ago. Technology and high-powered automatic weapons have seen to that.

But the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is again offering a splendid opportunity for citizens to actually learn about a police officer’s job, through the annual Citizens Academy program.

This latest edition kicks off Oct. 10 and runs just more than a month, giving citizens the chance to experience some of the training officers go through, which more than a few times has compelled program participants to pursue careers in law enforcement, or to volunteer in one of a number of law enforcement programs.

If this interests you, you’d better hurry. The application deadline is Sept. 26. Applications for the Citizen's Academy can be found at Applicants should scan and email the application to Senior Deputy Dave Valadez at

And because this is Saturday, when we hand out roses to our community winners, a huge bouquet to the Sheriff’s Office for engaging citizens in the best way possible.


While we’re in the rose-giving mood, a dozen red beauties to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which last week approved transferring nearly 7 acres along Alamo Pintado Creek to the city of Solvang.

This all came about after county officials determined the land could be of little use to the county, but has a lot of potential under Solvang’s control.

There is a string attached. The land must be used for the public good, which Solvang officials intend to do by reactivating a long-dormant water well drilled on the land in 1977.

This deal is important because Solvang, like most communities in Santa Barbara County, is vulnerable to drought conditions, and reopening this well could help the city and its water users, a lot.


If everything went as planned, and you happened to be awake and maybe out in the driveway picking up the paper, you probably are aware of what happened very early this morning.

It was something distinctive that most Americans never get to see in real time — the launch of a giant rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Distinctive, and a finale. If the launch happened as planned, it marks the end of nearly three decades of Delta rocket launches, of which 154 have taken place over 29 years. And 45 of those liftoffs happened at Vandenberg.

The Delta rockets are huge, standing higher than the tallest building in Santa Barbara County, and loud. This last scheduled launch aimed to put in orbit important satellites to study climate change.

Roses to all who worked the launches, and to those who watched.

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