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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Race

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - We continue our in-depth look at the candidates in the upcoming June Election. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's race pits incumbent Bill Brown against challenger and current deputy Lieutenant Juan Camarena. We interviewed both candidates separately and asked them the same set of questions. 

Incumbent Sheriff Bill Brown explained why he's running for a fourth term. 

"I really believe that in these changing and uncertain times that it's important for the Sheriff's Office to have an executive leader who is someone who's seasoned, who's been through a variety of different challenges and issues."

Lt. Juan Camarena, a 23 year veteran with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, offers a polar-opposite reason for wanting the job.

"Our current leadership been there for so long and sometimes when you're in a position for so long, you have the stagnation or more, become stagnant and become reactive to things."

Both men tout the department's staff as its strength. And, both admit its key weakness is a major shortage in personnel.

Nationwide criticism of law enforcement has taken a toll. Brown and Camarena believe a new generation of recruits is a must.

"And getting across to them that this is a noble profession," said Brown. "That you can't, in my estimation, do anything that is nobler than to protect and serve your community."

"Maybe showing something more as a, you know, of what we do in law enforcement is not arresting people, it's to help people," said Camarena.

When it comes to the drug crisis, Brown is leading the charge on Project Opioid, a think-tank with outreach involving all sectors. Camarena said community partnerships is the best approach to dealing with the drug crisis and, targeting dealers.

Both candidates agreed that collaboration is also crucial to dealing with another crisis: homelessness and mental health.

Their goals?

"My number one goal is reduce crime," said Camarena.

"I believe in holding people accountable for wrongdoing but I also believe in second chances," said Brown.

For the full interview with candidate Bill Brown, play the YouTube video below.

For the full interview with candidate Juan Camarena, play the YouTube video below.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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