Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark A. Dupree Sr., who won Tuesday night’s primary election with 55 percent of the vote, said today that he was humbled by the results, and willing to work together with others to keep the community safe.
“For me it showed the community is confident in this administration’s leadership, and that they agree with this vision that we have, and that they want that vision,” Dupree said on Wednesday. “They want holistic prosecution, they want alternatives to prison, but they also want violent offenders to be held accountable.”
Each case is handled with the facts and evidence that comes with that case. It’s about each case, each victim and each individual, he said.
Dupree said he was very humbled and also very grateful to God.
Voter turnout was higher in the 2020 election than it was four years ago in the 2016 primary, where Dupree received 59 percent of the vote and unseated former district attorney Jerome Gorman. Turnout was 22,539 in 2020 as compared to 16,477 in 2016, according to Wyandotte County election records. Dupree does not have opposition in the general election.
There was some negative campaigning this year, and Dupree believes voters had enough of it.
“I believe the voters turned out to oppose that divisive rhetoric that continues to divide our community,” Dupree said. “To me, it hopefully moves us away from the us vs. them rhetoric and thought process.” He hopes it will bring the community together.
“There is no way to make our community safe for everyone if we all don’t work together,” he said.
Dupree’s opponent, Kristiane Bryant, issued this statement today, “I would like to congratulate Mr. Dupree on his re-election as District Attorney. The election results were not what I hoped, but I appreciate all the support I received over the past few months. There was plenty of discussion about progress and change this election cycle and hopefully the discussion continues. One thing that has become clear is, if we want to make progress as a community, we need to work on setting differences aside and remember that we are stronger together.”
During the campaign, several former police officials in the KCK Police Department and the union endorsed Bryant, a former prosecutor in the Wyandotte County office who has been working in another county’s prosecutor’s office. Opponents said Dupree was too lenient with some offenders, and criticized plea deals made with defendants. The DA is starting a community integrity unit this year that will investigate cases of police misconduct.
Dupree said that while he doesn’t always agree on everything with police, he has never had a problem with police and his office is doing everything they can to work together. Politics is one thing, but public safety is another, Dupree said.
“We may have our differences, but we have to unify collectively as law enforcement, and police, all agencies in Wyandotte County, to focus on what is the best way to pursue public safety for everybody in this community,” Dupree said.
The community includes citizens who feel safe with the police, as well as citizens who feel terrified with the police, he added. The DA’s office serves everyone. He said he would continue to offer an olive branch, as “working together for public safety is better for the citizens we serve.”
Dupree said there was some criticism of the office that came out during the campaign. Quoting a scripture about people walking humbly before God, he said constructive criticism that came from community members would assist him in assessing the office.
He said the office will recalibrate ways to make itself more effective and efficient in serving community members. Above all, he will try to work together rather than divide citizens, he said.
“We’re all one Wyandotte County, all one community and need to treat each other as such,” Dupree said. “That’s the only way this criminal justice system will work.”