H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Sep 28, 2012 8:11 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office swear in first group of new custody deputies

Thousands of low-level inmates are now being housed in county jails under Governor Jerry Brown's prison prison realignment plan to reduce prison overcrowding.

On Friday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office swore in its first group of new custody deputies to help handle the increased number of inmates.

For one deputy, graduation is a dream come true.

"It's an accomplishment that I'm very proud of," said Deputy Crystal Batterson.

Deputy Batterson has always had an interest in law enforcement. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that she decided to leave her 7 year career as an IT.

"I just decided that I had to do it now or it was never going to happen for me," added Deputy Batterson of Arroyo Grande.

Deputy Batterson began this short, but rigorous journey, back in August. In just 8 weeks, she and her fellow classmates learned about firearms, laws and policies.

"Immediately we started with tests. It was, we walked in, we walked in the room and it was like, boom, here you go. This is how it's going to be for the next 8 weeks. And it was an eye opener," said Deputy Batterson.

According to the sheriff's office, about 1,000 people applied to become custody deputies, and they narrowed it down to only 21.

Deputy Batterson is one of seven women who graduated from the sheriff's academy.

"It feels excellent. It absolutely excellent. I'm, I'm proud of that and us females, that were in this academy, worked together. We stuck together and we can do everything just as well as everyone else can," said Deputy Batterson, who starts work on Thursday.

Leaders from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department will meet with the county board of supervisors Tuesday, where they will present their updated plans for the proposed new jail facility in Santa Maria.

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