Post endorses: Keep the experienced Bradshaw as sheriff
By The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
Post endorsement in Aug. 18 primary for Palm Beach County Sheriff.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is the eighth largest sheriff’s department in the country: Nearly 4,200 employees, including 2,300 sworn law enforcement and corrections officers. Its $762 million annual budget is by far the biggest of any county-funded agency.
Changing leadership of such a massive agency would be challenging in the best of times. Doing so when 1.5 million residents are on edge during a deadly outbreak — which sickened roughly 32,000 county residents, killed 800 and looks to upend daily life for months to come — would invite disaster.
The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board recommends voters retain Ric L. Bradshaw as Palm Beach County sheriff because he has the experience, relationships and expertise needed for the job — right now.
A handful of peaceful protests have led to confrontations with PBSO officers, but none have come close to escalating as we have seen in other urban areas.
Indeed, Bradshaw endorses many of the reforms that have been proposed since the police-brutality death of George Floyd — in fact, he told the Editorial Board, he has already implemented several. Through the agency’s Professional Compliance unit, new recruits are given racial bias training “on Day One.” PBSO also now tracks traffic tickets to monitor for racial profiling, taking into account the varying demographics between communities.
Bradshaw said he is looking forward to speeding up the timetable on state-of-the-art body cameras. “It’s the last piece of the puzzle,” he said.
Ahead of most police agencies, PBSO deploys seven “mental health teams,” an innovative setup that pairs a social worker or psychologist with a deputy to answer family disputes and potential hostage calls. Bradshaw wants to double that to 14 teams.
“We already answer up to 12 calls a day, and civilians (mental health professionals) can’t do it all,” he said, adding that “things can turn violent very quickly. By contrast, he said, the mental health professional can help “de-escalate the situation faster.”
Read the full editorial here: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/20200729/post-endorses-keep-experienced-bradshaw-as-sheriff