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Forté Wins Full Term as Jackson County Sheriff

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.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.