RIVERSIDE – In spite of all the bluster and bombast, the race for Riverside County Sheriff hinges on one quality – qualifications, according to incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff.
“It’s really about qualifications versus non-qualifications,” Sniff told Uken Report.
Lt. Chad Biano and Sniff, both Republicans are locked in a toxic and contentious race to become the county’s chief law enforcement official in the California General Election in November. Bianco was the top vote-getter in the election for sheriff during the June 5 Primary Election.
According to his website, in 1993 Bianco attended the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Academy and graduated. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department hired him shortly after graduation.
Here’s a look at the Academy training.
Bianco is currently one of 90 lieutenants in the Sheriff’s Department.
Those 90 lieutenants are assigned to 24 captains that have command of jails and patrol stations in different bureaus. Captains, not lieutenants, act as police chiefs for Riverside County communities. Captains in turn work for chief deputies, who work for assistant sheriffs, so lieutenants are pretty far down the food chain, Sniff said.
“He’s been with the department for 25 years and he talks about how he’s the longest tenured lieutenant,” Sniff said of Bianco. “Well, most people would say that’s an embarrassment because he can’t get promoted.”
Sniff is the 13th sheriff of Riverside County, having served in that capacity since 2007 when he was appointed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. He was re-elected in 2014 to a second full four-year term. He is the third Sheriff to also serve as coroner-public administrator since that department was merged in 1999. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was created in 1893 and is the second largest Sheriff’s Department in California, with 4,600 full-time staff and more than 1,600 volunteers. The department has an annual operating budget of $640 million. Sniff oversees county-wide patrol operations, jail operations, court security and coroner investigations.
“No lieutenant in my department, other than one, and not Bianco, runs a budget, and they’re not involved in any of the policy decisions the department does with their senior executives,” Sniff said. “So, to elect this guy is sticking someone in a 747, because cause that’s how big and complex our department is. He’s never been in the cockpit, the pilot seat, or the co-pilot seat. Hell, he hasn’t been in the flight simulator.”
He maintains voters should evaluate candidates’ qualifications.
Andre Levesque, Bianco’s spokesman, readily dismisses Sniff’s assertions.
“For the first time in Riverside County history the incumbent sheriff is not supported by a single law enforcement association from Riverside,” Levesque told Uken Report. “That should tell voters all they need to know about the experience of Stan Sniff and his record. The men and women who actually work on patrol keeping the community safe overwhelmingly support Chad Bianco for sheriff.”
In a news release Thursday morning, Levesque said Bianco has been endorsed by all major law enforcement associations in Riverside County including the Banning POA, the Palm Springs POA, the Riverside POA, the Hemet POA, the Corona POA, Murrieta POA, Beaumont POA, Indio POA, Cathedral City POA, Desert Hot Springs and the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association.
“These many associations represent the thousands of men and women working in law enforcement in Riverside County who are keeping the community safe,” Levesque said. “The officers who patrol the streets everyday do not trust their current sheriff and want a change in leadership in the department. Law enforcement in the county are confident in Chad as their next County Sheriff.”