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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Alabama’s Largest County Now Has a Black Sheriff and District Attorney — For the First Time Ever!

Danny Carr and Mark Pettway

Danny Carr and Mark Pettway

Birmingham, AL — Voters in Alabama’s most populated county have elected two Black Democrats for two of the top law enforcement positions. Mark Pettway, who won the Jefferson County sheriff’s race, and Danny Carr, who has claimed victory in the race for district attorney, made history being two African Americans to hold both top positions for the first time.

Black Democrat Mark Pettway has been elected as Jefferson County sheriff on a platform that included additional police body cameras and criminal justice reform. Fellow Black Democrat Danny Carr won the district attorney’s office after suggesting first-time marijuana possession be treated more like a traffic offense than a serious crime.

Both have prevailed over white Republican incumbents. According to the Associated Press, Jefferson County has about 660,000 residents and is “split almost evenly racially between blacks and whites.”

Pettway has spent over 25 years in law enforcement, with nearly two decades of it spent working for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He won against white Republican Mike Hale, who has been in the office since 1998.

Carr, who is a longtime prosecutor, worked as chief assistant district attorney and also served as district attorney on an interim basis. He defeated white Republican Mike Anderton, who was appointed to the position last year.

Many are hoping Pettway and Carr being on the top law enforcement position would bring new approaches to the get-tough policies in the county.

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