By Paul Thompson
Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. turned to a familiar face to lead the county’s Sheriff’s Office in the wake of an embarrassing scandal that led to the resignation of previous Sheriff Mike Sharp last month.
Former KCPD Chief of Police Darryl Forté was sworn in as interim Jackson County Sheriff on the morning of Thursday, May 10 in a ceremony conducted on the front steps of the Jackson County Courthouse, within line of sight of the KCPD headquarters that he oversaw until his retirement last May.
Jackson County’s 43rd Sheriff, Forté was selected by White from a group of three finalists recommended by a nine-person nominating committee: the other finalists were Rosilyn Allen, former KCPD Major, and Mike Rogers, Commander of the patrol unit in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
On May 10, White began his remarks by touting the collaborative, transparent and professional process utilized to select an interim Sheriff.
“We received a dozen applications from many seasoned and decorated law enforcement professionals,” White said. “Many community members took advantage of the opportunity to make their voices heard.”
White also discussed his rationale for selecting Forté as the interim Sheriff of Jackson County.
“From where we stand, we can see the building he called home for many years,” White said. “As the first African-American Police Chief of Kansas City, Darryl was instrumental in bridging the gap between officers and the community. With an emphasis on deescalation training, he provided support to crime victims, focused on diversity, and made physical, mental and emotional well-being of officers a priority.”
Forté spoke briefly at the conclusion of the ceremony, at which he was officially sworn in and presented with his new badge.
“Thanks everybody for the support. I’ll be meeting with many of you throughout the next week or so, and I’ll answer any questions that you might have,” Forté said. “Feel free to give me your input – I’m looking for input from everyone. I’m not going to make a lot of decisions right off; so I don’t want you to think I’m not doing anything, but I need a lot more information than I already have.”
According to the County, Forté will serve through the end of the year.