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Florida sheriff says department takes maritime security seriously
WEST PALM BEACH, FL Aug. 26, 2016 Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has over 2,000 square miles to protect, but that’s just on the land, the area also extends from the county shoreline across the ocean to the Bahamas. During one of his recent campaign stops, Sheriff Bradshaw spoke to residents how they protect such a large area.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw takes Homeland Security in Palm Beach County very seriously. As the largest county in the state of Florida, including 48 miles of United States border under his watch, he knows first-hand how this constant concern must take a high priority in his organization. Because he has highly-trained individuals on the job, using state-of-the-art high-tech equipment, he says, "People can go to sleep at night knowing that these men and women (of the PBSO Marine Enforcement Unit) are out there, are watching what’s going on, and we’re not gonna let people sneak back into this country."
He’s referring to a phenomenon his marine patrol often encounters: illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border without authorization, and there is a growing percentage of those apprehended that have already been deported after being convicted of a violent crime. "These people don’t need to bring guns or bombs in here," he says, "they just need to bring people in who want to hurt us, and are willing to die for their cause."
Sheriff Bradshaw is confident in his Marine Unit team, who are charged with the daunting task of patrolling this wide expanse all the way to the Bahamas. Although they have a lot of coast to cover—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—the Sheriff knows his best are out there on the job. Unlike the Road Patrol, there is no back-up arriving within minutes. His team of officers are trained meticulously in seamanship and sea visuals, armed defense skills, defensive boat boarding, and other related skills. Every shift goes out with a narcotics-sniffing dog.
In addition, the Marine Enforcement team is responsible for the skillful operations of their coastal radar equipment. This kind of equipment isn’t available to all coastal patrols—Palm Beach County is the only county in the United States to have it—and it is very useful for helping them cover their wide area. The radar sights potential targets, and as the team sees them pop up on the screen, they speed out in search of the target to investigate the nature of those targets. Needless to say, all Marine Unit patrol members need to be equipped with a healthy measure of bravery.
Breach of borders is a never-ending goal for many, so this team is always on the water, keeping eyes on all fronts. The Marine Unit is also tasked with escorting all the cruise ships that come in and out of the Port of Palm Beach. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is proud of the fact that the Marine Enforcement Unit is always out there, eagle-eyed on the job, making sure that the port of entry is safe and secure for the folks that live here.
About Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
With over 43 years of law enforcement experience, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has extensive training in all aspects of law enforcement, with special emphasis on domestic security and community-based policing. Sheriff Bradshaw knows that his first and foremost duty is to keep citizens safe.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office provides police services for over 760,000 residents. Covering fifteen districts, the Sheriff’s Office is comprised of over 4,300 total employees, including 1,700 sworn deputies, 980 correction officers and more than 1,500 civilians, along with thousands of local volunteers.
Sheriff Bradshaw is Chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Task Force for Region 7, Chairman of the Regional Domestic Security Task Force for Region 7, Executive Board member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force, member of the Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force, among other law enforcement organizations.