Forrest Co. sheriff candidates speak ahead of 2023 general election

Sims said he wants to focus on increasing resources for young offenders. Johnson plans to work toward officer accountability and transparency.
Published: Oct. 31, 2023 at 8:12 PM CDT
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FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Two Forrest Co. sheriff candidates are speaking ahead of 2023 general election

Two names will be on the ballot: Republican incumbent Charlie Sims and Democratic challenger Kenny Johnson.

Sims was elected sheriff in 2019, bringing 43 years of law enforcement experience. He said he’s most pleased with how safe and organized the office has become since he took office.

“Deputies are able to do their reports in their cars so they don’t have to come here and get outside their patrol area to do that,” said Sims. “We’ve given them equipment that makes them more efficient in order to get the job done.”

Johnson is a Hattiesburg native and Laurel police officer with 26 years of experience, including over 14 at the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office. If he’s elected, he said he wants to see more transparency.

“Officer accountability is what I’m looking for,” said Johnson.

Sims said if he gets another term, he wants to work on rehabilitating young offenders.

“We have been in the planning stages for a new juvenile detention facility,” Sims said. “That one is antiquated. We need a good environment where kids feel safe and we’re also able to provide the services they need.”

Both candidates agreed that it’s ultimately about staying connected with their community.

“I want to run to be here for the people, for the county that I grew up in and the city that I know well,” Johnson said.

“After 43 years, I’m not tired. I’m not ready to go home,” Sims said. “I’m ready to continue moving forward with that.”

On Nov. 7, polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

To find your nearest polling place, CLICK HERE.

To see sample ballots for local Pine Belt counties, click HERE:

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