Sheriff-Elect Don Barnes names Bob Peterson new undersheriff of Orange County


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Editor’s note: The Orange County Sheriff’s Department today, Nov. 29, issued the following message from Sheriff-elect Don Barnes regarding the appointment of a new undersheriff: 

“First, thank you for putting your trust in me to lead the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation.

“Sheriff Hutchens has led our organization with passion and purpose, and has set the department up for success by promoting and mentoring dedicated public service professionals over the last 10 years. As your incoming sheriff, I have the opportunity to select from those talented individuals to serve as part of my executive command staff. I’m privileged to announce that Assistant Sheriff Bob Peterson has accepted my offer to serve as undersheriff once I take office in January 2019.

“Assistant Sheriff Peterson has been a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for 31 years. He brings a wealth of law enforcement experience and decades of knowledge about the department and our Orange County community.

“Among the many roles he has had during his tenure, Assistant Sheriff Peterson led a team responsible for outreach to the community, and assisted in the creation of the Sheriff’s Interfaith Advisory Council.

“For the last year, he has overseen our largest command, effectively leading patrol operations, investigations, Homeland Security, Coroner and Crime Lab divisions. It’s clear that he believes strongly in our department mission and exemplifies our core values of integrity, service, professionalism and vigilance in the performance of duty. He is a well-respected leader, and has the perspective and commitment to serve successfully as undersheriff.

“I will be working closely with Assistant Sheriff Peterson as we focus our efforts on the day-to-day operation of the department. The rest of the executive command staff and their responsibilities will be shared publicly in the coming weeks.

“I look forward to serving as your sheriff.”

Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes, left, Assistant Sheriff Bob Peterson, and Commander Dave Sawyer stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of a ceremony honoring Dep. Ezra Stanley in November 2018.
File photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Bio of Bob Peterson

Bob Peterson is a 31-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He started his career at the department as a civilian employee working in the basement of the Central Men’s Jail washing inmates clothing. He graduated from the Sheriff’s Academy in 1989 and promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2002.

In 2009, Peterson promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was assigned to the Central Jail Complex. He would later become the bureau commander of the Central Jails Division. During his tenure as a lieutenant, he also worked as the SAFE lieutenant, the county’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Coordinator, SAFE, and Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) Commander overseeing SWAT, Hazardous Devices Squad (Bomb Squad), Air Support Unit, and Hostage Negotiations Team.

In 2012, Peterson promoted to the rank of captain and was tasked with creating the department’s Community Programs and Services Division. Two years later, he transferred to the Training Division where he oversaw department training at Katella Training Facility and the Regional Training Academy.

He then transferred to North Operations and was responsible for overseeing law enforcement services for the cities of Stanton, Villa Park, Yorba Linda, the Special District of Rossmoor, the unincorporated areas of North Orange County and the Emergency Communication Bureau (ECB.)

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Commander Bob Peterson says a few words to the OCSD’s first Youth Citizens’ Academy during their graduation ceremony in 2016.
File photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

In 2016, Peterson promoted to the rank of commander and became a member of the Sheriff’s Executive Team, responsible for overseeing the Professional Services Command.

In 2017, Peterson was promoted to the rank of assistant sheriff and oversaw Custody Operations.

In 2018, he transferred to the department’s Field Operations and Investigations Command where he is responsible for Homeland Security, Investigations, North, Southeast, and Southwest Operations, Coroner, Crime Lab, Emergency Management, Airport Operations, and the Reserve Bureau.

Peterson has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma. He also holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard University. He is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy, West Point Leadership Program, Notre Dame – Executive Integral Leadership Program, and the Senior Management Institute for Police.

He is an adjunct professor for Brandman University where he teaches leadership principles and is an associate instructor for Santa Ana College teaching criminal law. Bob and his wife of 26 years, Christine, have two adult children — son Cody, a Chapman University and Loyola Law School graduate, and daughter Kortney, who recently graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland with her master’s degree in business.

Orange County Assistant Sheriff Bob Peterson stands in front of the names of fallen officers at the conclusion of the Orange County Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony & Candlelight Vigil in 2017.
File photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

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