RIVERSIDE COUNTY — After an intense and high-priced campaign, Lt. Chad Bianco has emerged as the next sheriff of Riverside County dodging a barrage of attacks against him.

Bianco garnered 56.52 percent of the vote, or 145,026 votes. Incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff nabbed 43.48 percent of the vote, or 111,558 votes, according to the unofficial results from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

Bianco will be sworn in as Riverside County Sheriff in January. He did not return multiple phone calls or text messages on Wednesday.

Meantime, Sniff issued a statement shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. It is printed here in its entirety.

“The public has spoken and decided upon a change in direction.  I am very proud of the men and women of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, particularly in light of the work we’ve done to reduce crime – despite tough budget constraints in recent years caused by the county’s stark fiscal challenges.

“The Sheriff’s Office has done an outstanding job in a broad range of areas –  increasing diversity, professionalism and educational levels department-wide and enhancing the use of technology to make our department one of the very best in the nation – at a time of profound change to our state’s criminal justice system.

“After 43 years of uniformed law enforcement service I will soon leave the public arena, retiring from government service to transition to other awaiting aspects of life, including a return to my longtime interest in overseas travel and exploration.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve our public as Riverside County’s 13th Sheriff over these past 11 years, and that period has been the highlight of my four-plus decades of public service.  I would like to thank the residents of Riverside County for the incredible opportunity.”

When Bianco becomes sheriff, he will arguably hold one of the most powerful positions in Riverside County. The sheriff is charged with managing a $700 million budget and 3,600 employees.