press release - 01281701

Former Sheriff John Carpenter


Former Sheriff John Carpenter



Sheriff Carpenter with President Ronald Reagan and Wife Nancy Reagan


Sheriff Carpenter with President Ronald Reagan and Wife Nancy Reagan



Former Sheriff John Carpenter Dies at Age 87


Santa Barbara- January 28th, 2017


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is sad to report that former Santa Barbara County Sheriff John Carpenter passed away at approximately 1 p.m. on January 26, 2017, after a long illness. Carpenter lived with his family in Virginia the past twenty years and was surrounded by family and friends when he passed.  He was 87 years old.


Carpenter was elected Sheriff of Santa Barbara County five times and served in the office from 1971 to 1990. During his almost two decades as sheriff, he accomplished many great things and was highly regarded.  Carpenter served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper shortly after World War II.  He subsequently spent 34 years of his life in law enforcement. His first job was at the Hermosa Beach Police Department, in the town where he grew up.  He rose to the rank of Lieutenant before being selected as the City of Carpinteria’s first Police Chief when the city was incorporated in 1965, a position he held for three years. He was elected Sheriff when he was 41 years old and his tenure was one of the longest in Santa Barbara County history.


Upon hearing the news of his passing, Sheriff Bill Brown issued the following statement: “John was the consummate law enforcement professional. He ushered the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office into the modern era and was responsible for implementing many of the programs, policies and procedures we embrace and continue to use to this day. Unwavering in his integrity, and dedication, he was a skilled law enforcement leader who led from the front. We are proud to have his name on our Main Jail, and I am grateful that he knew we had broken ground on a new jail in our north county, something that he was the first to push for several decades ago.  He will be deeply missed.”


Carpenter leaves behind a wife, a son, four daughters, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.  His youngest daughter, Morgan Carpenter said while they are deeply saddened, they also feel fortunate to have had him as long as they did.  She said, “We are so grateful we got to go on this ride with him, one he was so excited about.  He enjoyed and loved life so much and did not take any of his opportunities or experiences for granted.  Being the Sheriff was one of the best times of his life.  He loved to set goals and achieve them.  He just loved the whole process.”


She also said one of the highlights of his career was the time he spent getting to know Former President Ronald Reagan while providing security at the Reagan Ranch.  He was delighted to have a granddaughter named Reagan.


The family is planning a small, private service in Virginia in several weeks but wants everyone to know how much it appreciates the Santa Barbara County community.  Morgan Carpenter said, “Santa Barbara gave my dad the gift of acceptance, unparalleled beauty and a great personal challenge.  Our family will always be grateful and call Santa Barbara home.”


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


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