Falls officer plans a run for sheriff

CORTLAND — Newton Falls police officer John Barco plans to seek the Trumbull County Sheriff position in November 2024, announcing his intention Wednesday at the Top Notch Diner.

“I want people to get to know me and my face and will attend different functions throughout the county,” said Barco when he made the announcement at a gathering of more than 75 people.

While the sheriff position is nonpartisan, Barco would be the first Republican in the seat in more than 50 years, with the last being Dr. Robert Barnett.

Barco, 57, said he has worked full time for the Newton Falls Police Department since 2008, but he retired from Geauga County in 2017 after having worked with sheriff’s department in Chester Township for 26 years, including as a sergeant for 12 years.

Barco, who was born in Meadville, Pa., and grew up in Girard, said, “I have always wanted to take on the challenge of making an agency better than it is. I believe when Sheriff (Thomas) Altiere was there, it was in great hands. But since he left, over a period of time I have seen it decline. I am a cop’s cop and will work alongside the staff and not behind the scenes.”

Altiere attended the event, stating Barco is a friend of his.

“I am very fortunate to have Sheriff Altiere at my side. He is a great mentor,” Barco said.

Altiere, who served as sheriff from 1993 to 2017, said the best advice he can give is “Be available to the people and tell them the truth.”

Newton Falls Mayor Ken Kline, chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, said the party is interested in backing Barco for sheriff.

“I have received so much support from friends and family on my decision,” Barco said. “I am running for sheriff because I feel it is time for a change with new leadership.”

“I plan to be a people’s person. If you want to talk, I will get back to you. I will always have an open door. I am very honored and excited,” he said.

Barco said it was Kline who got him involved with the Republican party.

“I appreciate the great support from him and the party. I will be at different fundraisers and other events. It will be a long, hard trip, but we will do it together,” he said.

Those in attendance asked Barco questions, including his opinion on efforts to defund the police.

“If you defund the police, crime will go up. No one will be there when you call 911. Many police across the nation are retiring or leaving. We need police officers period. I love what I am doing and love going to work every day,” he said.

Barco and his wife, Deanna, have two children and a grandchild.


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