The Santa Barbara Police Department held a ceremony last week to celebrate the promotion of five sworn law enforcement officers.
During the event, held Wednesday, Interim Chief Bernard Melekian honored four newly promoted Sergeants and one Lieutenant. These types of ceremonies have not been taking place due to the pandemic, though the recent easing of restrictions allowed a limited number of participants adhering to safety guidelines, Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, police spokesman, said in a news release.
In congratulating those promoted, Chief Melekian said, “The men and women who were promoted today are the future of the Santa Barbara Police Department and the law enforcement profession. I am very proud of each of them, for what they have accomplished, and what they will accomplish to make this city a safer place.”
The four promoted to the rank of Sergeant included: Allan Tuazon (formerly a detective); Antonio Montojo (formerly an officer); Charles Venable (formerly an officer); and Stephanie Trujillo (former officer).
Former Sergeant Bryan Jensen was promoted to Lieutenant.
Sgt. Tuazon attended California State University, Los Angeles and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. After graduating he was commissioned as a Naval Officer in the Navy. He served in leadership roles in operations, recruitment and retention, as well as logistics. He was honorably discharged after seven and a half years of service.
After the military, he earned a master’s degree in social work from USC. From there, he worked as a psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He left the district and joined the SBPD in 2011. In the past 10 years, he has worked as a patrol officer, street crimes unit officer and school resource officer. He earned the position of narcotics detective, where he served for two years until he was promoted Sergeant. He is currently assigned to the field operations division and for the last five years he has also served as a member of the SWAT Team.
Sgt. Montojo obtained his bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University in 2005. Two years later, he joined the San Mateo Police Department and had a number of achievements, including: narcotics detective and gang investigator in the Special Investigations Bureau; court-recognized narcotics expert; field training officer; SWAT Team member; and assistant SWAT Team leader. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2016. He joined the SBPD in 2019 and worked as a patrol officer assigned to the field operations division.
Sgt. Venable started his career with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked as a custody deputy for three and a half years. He will be celebrating his 20th anniversary with the city. During his police department career, he has been a part time motor officer for 14 years, a crime scene investigator for four years and spent six years as a field training officer. He is a department instructor in de-escalation and less-lethal options. Sgt. Venable’s bilingual abilities have been used to assist with instruction at the Spanish Speaking Citizen’s Academy.
Sgt. Trujillo joined the Army at the age of 17, serving eight years as part of a Combat Support Military Police Unit. She was deployed twice under Operation Enduring Freedom before being honorably discharged from the Army at the rank of Sergeant. She has been with the department for seven years, and served four years as a field training office. She is also a member of several department cadres, including honor guard, training and recruitment cadre, as well as the active shooter instructor cadre.
Lt. Jensen moved to Santa Barbara in 1996 to attend UCSB, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He joined the department in 2001 as a dispatcher, a patrol and drinking driver team officer, and a detective in both crimes against property and crimes against persons. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2012 and has served as a supervisor in patrol, investigative youth services, professional standards and community services – neighborhood policing. He also served as acting lieutenant assigned as the manager for the combined communications centers.
Lt. Jensen has also held assignments on the crisis negotiations response team and as a bomb technician with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad.