Mike Sharp, sworn in as sheriff in 2009, has a combination of 26 years of law enforcement experience with the Kansas City (Mo.) Police Department, as well as management skills as a former business owner.
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.
Sharp, sworn in as sheriff in 2009, has a combination of 26 years of law enforcement experience with the Kansas City (Mo.) Police Department, as well as management skills as a former business owner.
Sharp graduated from Lee’s Summit High School and continued his education at Central Missouri State University, where he acquired a bachelor’s degree in fire science and a minor in criminal justice. While in college, Sharp served as a volunteer firefighter for the Lee’s Summit Fire Department.
One of your competitors, Dwon Littlejohn, recently expressed dissatisfaction with slow response times among deputies. How do you respond to that and what are you prepared to do to address that?
Despite substantial budget reductions each of these past few years, the sheriff’s department has worked to streamline and improve communications and deployments schedules to more efficiently patrol Jackson County’s 600-plus miles of county roads, with only five deputies assigned to individual districts. That said, we are continuing to research and find ways to improve overall response times, while still living within the reality of today’s economy and budget restraints.
What are three issues you plan to address as sheriff if you’re re-elected?
My goal as sheriff is to continue to decrease the number of non-compliant sex offenders living in Jackson County. When I took office Jan. 1, 2009, only about 50 percent of the reported sex offenders in Jackson County were compliant. Today the registered sex offender compliance rate is around 92 percent.
Another goal is to complete the new 800 MHz radio communication system that will allow deputies to keep in real-time contact with other municipal law enforcement agencies in the seven county MARC Region when responding to emergency calls for service. As sheriff, I am not willing to leave any municipality without emergency radio service.
I’ll also continue to find ways to share resources with other law enforcement departments in the county in order to maintain and improve levels of service, while conserving taxpayer dollars.
The economy is tight and budgets are squeezed. What are you doing to ensure that the department is running efficiently and effectively?
We are using our human, professional and equipment resources better and smarter. That means raising the bar on performance expectations from our deputies and civilian staffs, and weeding out non-productive positions, programs and equipment.
What separates you from your competitors?
I feel I have proven to be a capable, fair, frugal and progressive sheriff. In my inaugural term as sheriff, we streamlined management of the department, expanded cooperation with surrounding law enforcement agencies, bolstered minority hiring and training and updated citizens services, including launching a crackdown on the residency requirements of known sex offenders, and introducing a web safety program for parents and their computer savvy children.
I am proud to have the unanimous endorsement of the Board of Directors of the West Central Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, representing more than 2,000 police officers and deputies in the metro area.