It’s Back to School for Senior Deputies

Senior Deputies George Hedricks and Dan Nelson have children of their own, but they are also charged with watching over the hundreds of students at Goleta Valley Junior High (GVJH), Dos Pueblos High School(DPHS) and San Marcos High Schools (SMHS) as the School Resource Deputies (SRD). Hedricks spends most days at DPHS while Nelson covers SMHS. They each work at GVJH two days/month. Both deputies are still learning the campuses and the students since starting this past fall.

A typical day involves walking the campus, talking with students and meeting with administrative staff about issues that cross over between education and law enforcement. The deputies also patrol the surrounding neighborhoods for students who are off campus when they should be in school. Although their primary responsibilities are to ensure school safety, they also work with neighborhood watch, probation, gang enforcement and patrol officers.

Bullying, problems at home, drug abuse and alcohol possession, and grades are just a few of the issues they are involved in addressing while on campus. Most of the time they’re making connections with the students as a trusted adult and counselor.

Deputy Nelson, who stands 6’6” tall, greatly enjoys working with the students on campus. “We are able to listen and, for some, give advice. We’re really a resource.” Hedricks agrees, “We build rapport with the students so that they get to know us. When they’re in trouble or need advice, we can be a sounding board.”

The deputies encourage parents to be involved in their students’ lives. Nelson tells students to “stay in school.” Hedricks encourages students to try activities or sports that they’re interested in, “If you want to try it, go for it. Don’t quit. Live with no regrets and start thinking about your future.” While they took different paths—Hedricks through college on a baseball scholarship and Nelson through the United States Coast Guard—both ended up working in the Sheriff ’s Office. Between the two of them,they’ve served in the jail, custody division, training bureau, courts and on patrol in Goleta. But one thing they have in common is a love of working with students.

The SRD position at Dos Pueblos High School is partially funded by the City of Goleta. The SRD position at San Marcos High School is funded by the County of Santa Barbara.