Town-Crier Endorsement: Keep Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

Tuesday, Aug. 14 is primary election day in Florida. Over the next three weeks, the Town-Crier will offer our opinions on some of the candidates voters will find on the ballot. This week, we feature the races for Palm Beach County Sheriff and Palm Beach County Tax Collector.

PALM BEACH COUNTY SHERIFF — Incumbent Sheriff Ric Bradshaw faces two challengers, Joe Talley and Cleamond Lee Walker. It is unfortunate that of Bradshaw’s entire eight years in office, perhaps his most troublesome couple of months have been the most recent. He has been hit by a string of aberrations, including deputy-involved shootings, which, quite frankly, he could have dealt with more diplomatically. He got into a fight with the county over money, but unlike some of the other constitutional officers, he managed to work it out fairly well.

Through the years, he has streamlined the department; there’s far less top brass than there used to be. The end result has been a far more functional department. And the proof is in the pudding: crime is down, and he accomplished this despite a difficult economy. There are deadly parts of this county that he has waded into when he didn’t have to, such as Lake Worth, where he took on the county’s worst gangs. Bradshaw took over the Lake Worth Police Department when he didn’t have to; in fact, his job might be much easier if he didn’t. But he went in and brought down crime there. Four years ago, we asked for an Acreage/Loxahatchee substation, and now we have one. This all happened under Bradshaw’s watch.

Though we wish Bradshaw could work more with the county to try to cut back on the budget, we understand his point of view. The fact of the matter is that crime is down in Palm Beach County, and Bradshaw’s work to crack down on gangs and pill mills has been successful. When it comes to the most important aspect of policing — protecting county residents — the PBSO is doing a fine job under Bradshaw.

Talley has been in law enforcement for a long time, having spent 22 years with the Baltimore County Police Department and five years in the PBSO’s reserve unit, advancing to the rank of lieutenant. He’s a nice guy and could possibly make a fine sheriff. However, while Talley has been high up in police departments, he has never been the top man. Bradshaw has led two departments successfully.

Regarding Walker, Bradshaw’s other challenger on the Aug. 14 ballot, let’s just say we’re glad we live in a country where anyone can fulfill their dream of running for office.

When we have the strongest person sitting in the sheriff’s office in a generation, there is no reason for change. The Town-Crier strongly endorses the re-election of Ric Bradshaw as Palm Beach County Sheriff.