FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - The hotly contested race for the Republican nomination for Forrest County Sheriff will be decided in a runoff between David Bassett and Charlie Sims on Aug. 27.
In Tuesday’s primary, Bassett captured 49% of the vote and Sims received 47%, knocking out the third Republican candidate, Nick Calico.
The candidate who wins the runoff later this month will face Independent candidates Jerry Oswalt and Kenny Johnson in the general election on Nov. 5.
Bassett is a Petal native and started his law enforcement career with the Petal Police Department in 1997. He signed on with the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 2006, a position he still holds today.
Bassett said if he is elected, his top priorities will be to earn the trust of the community and create a system of communication and accountability within the sheriff’s office.
“I would make sure that we have got in every one of these communities and got the trust of the people back,” Bassett said in an interview with WDAM. “It is imperative that we get the people’s trust back in our organization, because it’s us, we are going to have to be the change to Forrest County that we desperately need.”
Sims, a University of Southern Mississippi graduate, is a 37-year law enforcement veteran. Sims joined the Hattiesburg Police Department in 1981 and would eventually become chief, a position he retired from in 2001. Sims is currently the Assistant Director of Public Safety at Forrest General Hospital.
Sims said if he is elected sheriff, he will instill a culture of courtesy and respect in the department and immediately assess the departments resources to determine what changes should be made.
“I would do a complete and thorough evaluation of every aspect of the department. I would determine what’s being effective, what’s being efficient, what resources and how many are committed to each, and then I’d make the hard decisions, what needs to stay, what needs to go, what needs to change,” Sims said in a interview with WDAM.