OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – Oklahoma County voters elected Tommie Johnson III for Oklahoma County Sheriff, making him the first black sheriff in Oklahoma County and the second black sheriff in the state.
Johnson won the race with 28,562 votes (60 percent) to Taylor’s 18,867 votes (40 percent).
Johnson began his Law Enforcement career with the University of Oklahoma Police Department. In 2015 he joined the Norman Police Department, where he is currently a Master Police Officer.
Johnson’s opponent, Wayland Cubit, is also a long-time police office with 24 years on the job and 21 of those years serving on the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Cubit is a 21-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department and he has 24 years of combined law enforcement experience.
Cubit established OKCPD’s Family Awareness and Community Teamwork Unit (F.A.C.T.), a youth outreach program that focuses on mentorship, building character and empowering at-risk youth, according to a news release issued by his campaign in January.
Both candidates are making history with this race. Oklahoma County has never had a black sheriff.
The winner will also be only the second black sheriff in the state, following JC Burris who was the sheriff of Logan County from 1980-1992.
“I’m super excited about the fact that this is going to be a historical marker for our community,” Cubit said.
“I mean that truly shows that we are making strides in our country and that is beautiful and I love that we are representing that here in Oklahoma County,” Johnson said.
The newest sheriff will be stepping in to an office that’s a bit different now, since the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, or the jail trust, took over operations of the jail on July 1st.
There have been major developments at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office in recent months.
Sheriff’s Office officials announced on June 29 that the Sheriff’s Office moved out of the Oklahoma County Detention Center and that services are now available at the Krowse Building, located at 2101 N.E. 36th St.
The Sheriff’s Office officially handed over responsibility for the jail to the Oklahoma County Jail Trust on July 1.
Taylor long pushed for the Oklahoma County Jail Trust to take over the Detention Center.
The Jail Trust recently became the focus of further controversy when Oklahoma County commissioners voted to allocated roughly $36 million in CARES Act money to the Jail Trust for COVID-19 response at the jail.
The allocation enraged many protesters.
“It’s absolutely Bull**** what you guys just did. $40 million and pandemic is going on. We have a housing crisis, people are being evicted from their homes,” another protester yelled.
Protesters continued to yell at the commissioners, as public comment has been temporarily suspended since March due to COVID-19.
Oklahoma County Commissioners voted in May 2019 to create a jail trust to help identify problems at the jail and develop solutions. The trust was also designed to transparently dole out funding to maintain and staff the jail.
Taylor demanded that the trust take over the jail less than six months after the Jail Trust was formed. Taylor said at that time that the trust had not provided enough of a plan for current employees to feel safe, and that he did not feel confident that he could continue to run the jail safely.
Tension grew between the Sheriff’s Office and the Jail Trust. Taylor said the jail needs at least 600 employees for it to be operated correctly, but the Sheriff’s Office’s budget only accounted for two-thirds of that amount.
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