By Debbie Coleman-Topi
John Bullard believes 34 years spent in efforts to rid Independence of crime will give him a more knowledgeable voice in the statehouse.
Bullard, who is running for the 54th District Missouri House seat, which encompasses southeastern Independence, the northern portion of Blue Springs, Oak Grove and Grain Valley, said his experiences in protecting the public with the Independence Police Department could easily translate to the Missouri House floor.
"I see it as just an extension of public service," he said of the seat, for which he is so far running unopposed. "Having seen the best of people and the worst of people gives me the opportunity to view legislation without the rose-colored glasses," he said, adding that, when it comes to public safety issues, some legislation is not enforceable.
If Bullard is elected, he would resign from the Independence Police Department.
The seat Bullard is seeking is being vacated by Rep. Gary Dusenberg, a Republican, due to term limits. So far no other candidate of either party has filed a campaign finance report with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The Democratic and Republican primaries will be in August 2010. The general election will be Nov. 2, 2010.
In his Missouri Ethics Commission Oct. 15 filing, Bullard, a Democrat, reported raising $21,600 in the quarter ending Sept. 30. He attributes the figure to the donations of more than 200 people.
Bullard is no stranger to the campaign trail. He made unsuccessful bids for Jackson County Sheriff in 2004 and 2008, where he lost to the current sheriff, Mike Sharp. However, Bullard points out that he captured a majority of votes from those residing in the 54th District during his bids for sheriff. He said that fact indicates he and voters in the district share common values and beliefs.
"I think the same way they do," he said. "That will be the difference between this race (Missouri House) and those (sheriff)."
His extensive law enforcement background, which spans the department, from dispatcher to patrolman and traffic enforcement to being in charge of the K-9 unit, has led to his current position of being in professional development, which oversees trainings for new hires and continuing education courses for all officers.
Bullard's favorite position, by far, was the seven years he spent working with departmental dogs. That position allowed him plenty of opportunity to work with German Shepherds trained to sniff out suspects and drugs. In the process, he frequently conducted public demonstrations with the dogs, especially showing the animals toschool-age children and senior citizens.
"It was such a joy taking the dogs in and watching the kids giggle and the older people smile," he said.
Over the years, Bullard believes the public's primary concerns have been constant. It's those needs he hopes to meet, if elected.
He said, "People just want to know they can be safe and secure..."