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Changes are coming, new sheriff says


Last updated 1/17/2019 at 9:46pm

Marc Danielian photo

Tyler Bianco and Tori Kimsey pin sheriff stars on the collar of their father, newly sworn in Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco, Tuesday, Jan. 8.

With the swearing in of Chad Bianco to his newly elected position, Riverside County has its first new sheriff in more than a decade.

Bianco, who defeated longtime Sheriff Stan Sniff in the November 2018, election, took office with an official swearing-in ceremony, Tuesday, Jan. 8, on the steps of the Riverside County Historic Courthouse in downtown Riverside.

Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Natasha Johnson served as the master of ceremonies for the nearly hour-long swearing in, attended by hundreds of his supporters and dignitaries.

"The trajectory of this moment today changes many lives," Johnson said. "This journey has been long, challenging, full of obstacles but ultimately today, reward."

Johnson said the moment was a historic one.

"I was recently told it had been nearly a hundred years since an incumbent was challenged and a new sheriff elected," she said. "Frank Wilson, in 1929 lost his re-election after 16 years as a sheriff, and while this may be to most, I think it was expected, just like today."

Johnson said that there were telltale signs a change was coming when the men and women out on the front line were the loudest promoting change.

"The power of the people spoke," she said.

The former sheriff's department lieutenant and 25-year department veteran was sworn into office by his brother, Brett Bianco, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, on a Bible held by his wife Denise.

"I couldn't have guessed when we were growing up that one day Chad would be here being sworn in as the sheriff

of Riverside County, much less that I would be the one here doing the swearing in," Brett Bianco said. "You know that he is committed to public service, and you know that he is strongly rooted in integrity and has a strong moral compass."

Brett Bianco said his brother was the best example of inspiration.

"My only advice then is to remain humble. Keep your humility," Brett Bianco said.

The new sheriff's brother Sgt. Michael Bianco pinned on the sheriff badge and his son Tyler Bianco and daughter Tori Kimsey pinned the sheriff stars on his collar.

New assistant sheriffs Robert Gunzel, Raul Vergara and former Murrieta Police Department Capt. Dennis Vrooman were also sworn in by the sheriff.

Following the swearing in of his support team, Bianco took to the microphone, thanking those who supported him in his quest for the spot of top law enforcement officer.

"First, just a very, very big thank you," Bianco said. "I want to thank every single department member, volunteer and especially voters for giving me, giving us this opportunity to right a broken department and provide a service that you all deserve."

Bianco said with the swearing in of three new supervisors the same morning, it was a good time for Riverside County. Sometimes fighting back tears, Bianco also took the time to thank God, his wife and his family.

"As I look out into this crowd, I am completely humbled," Bianco said before darting to the front of the podium to take a selfie with the crowd. "I want you to know that this election has not ever been about me; it's always been about us, and I promise you that we as a team will make this department a better place. This was a long and hard journey. We did it."

Bianco said the sheriff's department was in need of a change of direction, repeating something he was vocal about on the campaign trail. Under Sniff's direction, the department was often criticized for mismanagement of department resources.

Marc Danielian photo

Sgt. Mike Bianco pins the sheriff badge on his brother, Chad Bianco.

"We must change the culture and the direction of our department from the top down," he said. "We are a profession of service and that demands a servant leadership. My opinion, the number one quality of a leader is one that puts service above self. What I am telling all of you, all of our department members here is what happens to you is more important to me than I am to myself."

Bianco said he would always do what is best for the employees of Riverside County Sheriff's Department, regardless of how it would affect him.

Bianco also said that he would demand the department leaders is for them to believe and act the same way.

"By the time we reach you, the public, you will have an entire agency that is only concerned with providing you the best service imaginable," he said. "I want integrity to be the number one mission of our department."

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]


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