Randy Poletis has been a full-time police officer for 38 years, 13 years of which were as a chief. Poletis also has served as a patrolman, detective, corporal and sergeant.
Incumbent Mike Sharp is running against fellow Democrats Dwon Littlejohn and Randy Poletis for Jackson County Sheriff in the August primary. Because there is not a Republican entered in the race, the winner will not face an opponent in the November election, so this election should decide the new sheriff. The primary election is Aug. 7.
Poletis has been a full-time police officer for 38 years, 13 years of which were as a chief. Poletis also has served as a patrolman, detective, corporal and sergeant.
Poletis began his career with the Prairie Village (Kan.) Police Department and then joined the Kansas City Police Department until appointed chief of police of Lake Lotawana.
He has received many commendations for police service, including Officer of the Year twice, three Life Saving Awards, a Meritorious Service Award, a Valor Award and Certificate of Commendations.
Why are you running for Jackson County Sheriff?
I believe I am the most qualified candidate for sheriff. I have been a full-time law enforcement officer for 38 years, 21 of which I have served the residents of Jackson County serving on the Kansas City Police Department, the East Patrol Division, the Metro Patrol Division, the Street Narcotics Unit and the Fugitive Apprehension Unit along with 13 years as the chief of police at Lake Lotawana. During my tenure as chief, I served on the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Drug Task Force, of which I was treasurer the last eight years.
Some criticism is being leveled at the department for slow response times. How would you address it?
Citizens consider response time the most important duty a law enforcement agency has when one needs police service. This could be corrected by redistribution of patrol resources. For example, ensuring deputies are consistently in their patrol areas 24/7.
What are the three issues you’d focus on most if you’re elected?
First, the alarming homicide rate in Jackson County along with escalating violence in street crimes and home invasions. Secondly, if response times are being criticized, then obviously I would correct this to improve response times to calls of service. Lastly, I believe there should be more diversity in the workforce as well as in the command staff, which would more reflect the make-up of Jackson County citizenry.
What separates you from your competitors?
My experience in the law enforcement profession serving first as a patrolman then corporal, field sergeant, undercover detective, detective in the Fugitive Apprehension Unit and as chief of police separates me from the other candidates as they collectively have less than 10 years of full-time law enforcement experience. I have thousands of hours of in-service police training, I graduated from the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville College of Urban and Public Affairs, I have an A/A degree from JCCC and I am a graduate of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development course at the University of Kansas.