WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ric Bradshaw has won a fifth term, setting the stage for him to become the longest-serving sheriff in Palm Beach County history.
Bradshaw, who defeated former captain and retired veteran Lauro Diaz in Tuesday's general election, was first elected in 2004.
The Democratic incumbent was challenged by a 34-year law enforcement veteran who once served under Bradshaw during his 27 years with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
"For far too long, Palm Beach County residents have been suffering from lack of transparency and accountability from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office," Diaz said earlier in the day. "A 16-year incumbent, that's a 16-year career politician. That's bad for everyone."
The political neophyte spoke about Bradshaw's "reckless spending, bad judgment, bad decision-making, lack of accountability" and other issues.
"It's time for Ric Bradshaw to go," he said.
Apparently, though, Palm Beach County voters thought otherwise.
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"We need somebody that has experience. We need somebody that's done this before. We need somebody with a proven track record," Bradshaw said Tuesday night. "And that's what the people in Palm Beach County want. They're not interested in Rs and Ds."
Bradshaw said he will remain committed to reducing crime. In the process, he said, his office will continue taking money away from criminals and reinvesting that money into the community.
The sheriff claims his office is the largest provider of mental health services and said medical professionals are on standby to help de-escalate non-violent mental illness calls without force.
Bradshaw has also announced a plan to install body cameras for patrol deputies to help promote community safety.
Despite the loss, Diaz said he still hopes to see changes to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
"Like I've always said, transparency and accountability is something that is still missing, and I'm hoping your incumbent sheriff will listen to that and make some serious changes," he said.
If Bradshaw remains for the full four-year term, he will surpass Richard Wille as the longest-serving sheriff in Palm Beach County. Wille was sheriff from 1977-95.