Computer Donation to Help Sheriff's Rural Crime Unit

June 15, 2017

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse board members, from left, Larry Saarloos, Lynn Gildred and Bob Bryant recently presented Rural Crime Enforcement Unit Detective John McCarthy and Undersheriff Bernard J. Melekian with a new computer and impact resistant case to help combat rural crime countywide.

by April Charlton

After learning Rural Crime Unit sheriff deputies were working with an old and often unreliable computer, members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse stepped into action to get new equipment.

The posse recently donated a new laptop computer to the county Sheriff's Office Rural Crime Unit, and members also acquired and donated an impact-resistant Pelican case to protect the device from damage when it's taken over rough rural terrain to assignments, according to a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

"Each month we have a specialized unit of the Sheriff's Office attend our posse board meetings to report on their activities and needs," said Larry Saarloos, posse board member, who led the effort to secure the new equipment. "When we heard that the Rural Crime Unit was working with a less than fully reliable 8-year-old computer, we knew we had to act." 

A core posse mission is to supplement equipment and training for Santa Barbara County's primary law enforcement personnel in their efforts to safeguard the community. The posse helps fill the gap between the county's increasing public safety needs for law enforcement and the tightening budget, the spokeswoman said.

In the recent past, the posse has helped the Sheriff’s Office obtain much-needed emergency equipment, including protective vests, night vision goggles, specialized weapons and computer equipment.

The posse has also helped fund other needs at the department over the years, such as the replacement of drug-sniffing and bomb dogs, upgraded technological capacity, high-resolution cameras, specialized equipment for the sheriff's dive team, and vehicles for specialized teams.

The posse is currently working with the Sheriff's Office to identify gaps in technology and equipment and assist with procuring those items that may fall outside the capacity of the sheriff's budget, the spokeswoman said.

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