KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County voters on Tuesday elected Darryl Forte as sheriff and gave him control over the county jail.
"I don’t want to let anyone down, and we won’t let anyone down," Forte said.
Forte, who was appointed interim sheriff in May, has served more than three decades in Kansas City law enforcement. In his new role as Jackson County sheriff, people will look to him to make some changes.
"Already he has seen some change that needs to be done and is making those changes in his interim period, and now as sheriff we will see more things done," said Alvin Brooks, a longtime community leader.
Forte said he is working to change certain policies within the department. In the past, when deputies responded to a domestic violence call, there would be no follow-up with the victim. That will now change.
"We will get that information to an outside agency and they will follow up to make sure things are OK and advise the victim of resources that are out there," Forte said.
Voters on Tuesday also approved giving Forte control over the Jackson County jail.
"It's overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded," Forte said. "I don’t know what the numbers are but I know it is understaffed because they don’t have recreation."
He said he will complete an evaluation of the jail before determining what changes should be made.
Brooks said that maintenance of the jail is important, citing past raids and lawsuits.
"Safety of those who are with the inmates and inmates' relationships with each other. There are lawsuits still pending in terms of the relationship between those who govern inside, with inmates," Brooks said.
Forte said community policing will also be a priority for the sheriff's office. In the past, deputies haven't checked on businesses at night, but Forte will change that.
"People are saying deputies never come here. They weren’t doing building checks when buildings were closed, I started doing that. I wanted notification to the business owners that we were there," Forte said.
The shift in power at the jail begins on Jan. 1, 2019.