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Santa Barbara County Sheriff candidates face off in forum

Santa Barbara County Sheriff candidates face off in forum

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The three candidates vying for Santa Barbara County Sheriff spoke about what they bring to the table at a forum Friday night, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Two lieutenants are looking to oust their own boss in the upcoming Santa Barbara County Sheriff's race.

"It sends a message that the majority of the people want change in the Sheriffs Office," said Lt. Brian Olmstead, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Candidate.

Lt. Olmstead has secured the endorsement of the Deputy Sheriff's Association.

"The men and women of the Sheriffs Office that respond to emergencies around the county endorse me for sure, along with the majority of the fire department in the county and the police departments," said Olmstead.

Lt. Eddie Hsueh is backed by the Democratic Party.

"I believe in reasonable gun control. I believe in equality for immigrants in our county," said Eddie Hsueh, Santa Barbara County Sheriff candidate.

Both Hsueh and Olmstead say a change is needed.

"I hope that they vote for somebody who is going to give them a voice," said Lt. Hsueh.

However, incumbent candidate, Sheriff Bill Brown says voters need steady proven leadership. Brown says his endorsements are a list of who's who, citing Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Dianne Feinstein as supporters. 

"We're facing some very difficult challenges in the future in terms of the county financial picture, continuing bleak financial future," said Sheriff Bill Brown, Santa Barbara County.

The two lieutenants that have worked under Brown for 12 years stress the importance of improving relationships with other county departments and the community, Brown is zeroing in on addressing mental health.

"My hope is that we can first of all open and we will open, next year, the Northern Branch Jail which will be a state of the art facility that will allow us to to provide a significant amount of additional programming for inmates to allow them to become better prepared to re-enter the community once they get out of jail," said Brown.

Either way, voters will make their decision known when they vote on June 5th.

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