Government & Politics

Former KC police chief and four others vie to replace sheriff who quit amid scandal

Jackson County Executive Frank White vetoed legislation Friday that would have put term limits and other charter changes on the August ballot. The proposals will now likely go to the voters in November.
Jackson County Executive Frank White vetoed legislation Friday that would have put term limits and other charter changes on the August ballot. The proposals will now likely go to the voters in November.

A nominating committee is set to conduct public interviews this week of five finalists seeking to replace former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp on an interim basis.

A dozen people applied for the job. The county released the names and resumes Wednesday of those who made the initial cut. Retired Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte' is the best known among them. Other finalists are two other retirees from the Kansas City department, a retired Missouri Highway Patrol officer and a current member of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The candidates will sit for separate half-hour interviews from 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the Mid-America Regional Council offices in downtown Kansas City. Members of the public will have a chance to address the nominating committee after the interviews, but must sign up before 5 p.m. Thursday by emailing marcinfo@marc.org.

The public also can submit written statements or suggest questions for committee members to ask through a page on MARC's website: http://www.marc2.org/assets/jacksoncounty.

The committee will deliberate privately after Friday's session, then submit two to three names to County Executive Frank White, who will make the final pick for the job. The county charter sets the sheriff's pay at $103,771 annually.

White's pick will serve through the end of the year. Voters will decide in the August primary and November's general election who will finish out the remaining two years of Sharp's term, which runs to the end of 2020. A five-day window for candidates seeking to get their names on the ballot opens Monday. The interim pick would be eligible to run.

In addition to Forte', the finalists are Rosilyn Allen, who retired as a major in 2013 from the Kansas City police force; Ramona Arroyo, who was a sergeant when she retired last year from the Kansas City department ; former Missouri Highway Patrol Lt. James Ripley, who retired in 2013; and Capt. Michael Rogers, who heads patrol enforcement at the sheriff's office.

Sharp announced his resignation April 18, effective the following day, after court documents revealed that he showed favoritism at work to a woman who was his assistant and with whom he was carrying on a sexual relationship. Among the behavior outlined in the court documents, Sharp lent the woman money to buy a house, took her on trips at taxpayer expense and consulted with her privately about a monetary settlement she was seeking in connection with a still-pending harassment lawsuit she filed against the county and Sharp's office.

White could have made his pick to replace Sharp without a public process. But after some members of the county legislature with whom he has been at odds challenged his authority to make the pick, he formed a nine-member nominating committee.

In addition to three legislators, the panel includes a clergyman, four current or former law enforcement officials and a professor of criminal justice.

With the recent allegations against Sheriff Mike Sharp, Jackson County's list of scandals continues to grow.

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