WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thursday was a historic day for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw was sworn in for a fifth term, making him the longest-serving sheriff in county history.
Bradshaw defeated former captain and retired veteran Lauro Diaz in the November election.
Bradshaw was first elected in 2004.
Major Ron Mattino was the master of ceremonies for the event and praised his leadership over the last 16 years.
"He brought us laptops. He improved all of our vehicles. He improved our boats, our aircraft, and most importantly, our information technology," Mattino said. "He reformed our use of force policy to keep current with national trends, more specifically the banning of chokeholds."
Mattino praised Bradshaw's work reinvesting millions of dollars seized from criminals to help the community.
Following his swearing-in, the sheriff spoke about receiving 65 percent of the vote in the election and how that indicated the public's commitment to the entire department.
"It's about the level of commitment, the level of service that the men and women of this organization give to this community. They're showing their appreciation," Bradshaw said.
He praised the department's commitment during the pandemic helping neighborhoods with testing and distributing food to those in need.
He squelched any rumors that he would not serve the full four years of his new term.
"No, folks. I'm here for the whole time, and for those who think I may not run again, I don't know. I won't know that until two years into (my term)," he said. "We've got a lot of stuff to do."
The sheriff said he was passionate about getting body cameras for deputies, calling it "huge" and "gonna happen."
Bradshaw said he wants the public to remain vigilant about reducing the spread of COVID-19.
"We gotta make sure that this pandemic stops. ... You got to make the commitment to get this vaccine," Bradshaw said. "It's going to save your life, and it's going to get us out of this mess."
During his speech, he said he also wants to double the size of the department's mental health unit.