Hopkins Undergrad Vies to Replace Sheriff

Prince George’s County

by: James Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com
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Prince George’s County Deputy Sheriff Kendal Wade wants county voters to promote him to sheriff. “I am running for sheriff because I feel that the residents of Prince George’s County deserve more,” Wade told the AFRO.

Current Deputy Sheriff Kendal Wade is running for Prince George’s County Sheriff. (Courtesy photo)

Wade is challenging his boss, Melvin High, for the job. “I think Melvin High has done a decent job, but it is time for change,” he said. “You have to know how to interact with the younger generation. Some people who are running for sheriff say they have been in law enforcement 30, 40 and 50 years and I say that is good. I think we need someone who has a better feel for the times.” Wade is 29 years old while High is 72 years old.

For example, Wade said that instead of locking people up for transgressions or putting people out when they can’t pay the rent is not the right approach. “We should take a pro-active stance.” “I believe it is the duty of the sheriff to get resources to people who cannot pay rent or in trouble with the law, especially seniors and the disabled,” he said. “I believe it is the duty of the sheriff to get the resources to people who cannot pay rent or get in trouble with the law.”

He has gotten some media attention for proposing the creation of a domestic violence registry. He said it would function similarto a sex offender registry in that people convicted of committing acts of domestic violence would be listed publicly. “Women will be able to go to the registry to see if the person they are dealing with is on it,” Wade said.

The High campaign didn’t respond to the AFRO’s calls and emails regarding Wade’s comments.

The office of the sheriff of Prince George’s County was founded in 1696 and is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in Maryland. The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for the county and its traditional duties are keeper of the public peace and the acting as the enforcement arm of the Prince George’s County court system.

The duties of the sheriff include law enforcement services of the two county courthouses and surrounding property, service of court-ordered warrants, writs, protective orders, and other injunctions, and limited patrol responsibility with county police officers. The Domestic Violence Unit has expanded its role in the county to include responding to calls for service that are domestic-related. The creation of the School Resource Deputy division has placed a deputy sheriff at all of the county’shigh schools, replacing the county police.

Wade is committed to hiring a workforce that looks like the county demographically. “I believe in having a diverse workforce and I will revamp the hiring process to see that more Prince Georgians will have the chance to join the sheriff’s office,” he said. “There should be a process where when Prince Georgians are applying for county government jobs, they should be given a credit for being a resident and now that isn’t the case.”

The sheriff’s term is for four years and the Democratic primary takes place on June 26, 2018. The winner of that contest will be on the Nov. 6, 2018 general election ballot. The Democratic primary winner is likely to be the favorite in the general election because Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the county.

Wade is a native of the District of Columbia and is a graduate of Largo High School. He is presently working on a bachelor’s degree in leadership at Johns Hopkins University. Wade is currently the chairman of the Young Democrats of Maryland Public Safety Caucus and was recognized by Black Enterprise magazine in 2016 as “Mr. Public Safety.” He and his family attend the City of Praise Family Ministries church in Landover, Md.

James Dula, president of the South County Democratic Club, told the AFRO that Wade is impressive. “Kendal Wade is very knowledgeable and very inspiring,” Dula said. “He is running really hard for sheriff and he makes a great impression.” Nevertheless, Dula said unseating High will be tough.  “Chief High is very well liked county wide,” he said. “He has done a lot for the county. He is a seasoned police officer and anyone challenging him faces an uphill battle.”

In addition to High, Wade is facing former U.S. Marshal David Grogan and former Capitol Heights Police Chief Anthony Ayers Sr.

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