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Forté Wins Full Term as Jackson County Sheriff

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte
Forté campaign
Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté

Jackson County voters overwhelmingly chose Darryl Forté in the Democratic primary.

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté has won his first full four-year term after handily beating former Sheriff Mike Sharp, who resigned amid a scandal.

Forté, who served as Kansas City Police Chief for five years, is Jackson County’s first black sheriff. During his two years on the job, he has improved diversity in the department by hiring more black deputies and promoting a woman to captain, the highest rank ever attained by a woman in the department.

He won with 81% of the vote.

In a tweet last night, Forté vowed to keep up the positive momentum and said he was excited about the future.

Forté will be on point to help plan a new jail for the county. Like Sharp, he’s said he favors a regional approach that would create enough room to allow Kansas City, Independence and Lee’s Summit to stop sending prisoners to other counties, theoretically saving millions of dollars.

Forté says he has a bigger concern than a new jail facility.

“The building part I think is a pretty simple piece,” said Forté after his win last night. “What I want to make sure is that we have the proper services within the facility — job training, reentry programs, alcohol and substance abuse (programs).”

Sharp served as sheriff from 2009 to 2018 but was forced to resign amid an employee sex scandal. Sharp approved repeated pay hikes for the woman, who enjoyed a lucrative car allowance, an option to work from home and the highest salary of any civilian in the department.

Forté faces no Republican opposition in the fall. His next term starts January 1.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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