Gay Sheriff Candidate Out To Win Historic Election

Major John Barrow. Courtesy photo.

For the first time in 58 years, residents of Miami-Dade County will vote for a sheriff, and John Barrow is ready to make his case.

Barrow, a Major in the Miami-Dade Police Department, is campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the Aug. 20 primary election. It’s a historic race, with more than a dozen candidates vying to lead the largest law enforcement agency in the southeast and eighth nationally. 

“I have the work experience and breadth of knowledge that has prepared me for this job,” Barrow told OutSFL in a telephone interview. “On day one I’ll be the most effective sheriff, but more importantly I care. Some people want the power and that budget, but I actually care about this work, the people that work in this agency and I care about Miami-Dade County.” 

Born and raised in Carol City, Barrow, 40, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management from Lynn University. He has been promoted four times in his police career, all while being out on the job since his first assignment. 

“Being a Black gay male in the Miami-Dade Police Department and rising up through the ranks in 17 years is a testament to my ability to work and ability to overcome obstacles,” Barrow said. 

Barrow said he is well aware of a “heavily right leaning culture” behind the Blue line. “Some of my best friends are Republicans,” he admitted, adding that ultimately, partisanship takes a back seat to professionalism.

“It’s all about law enforcement keeping people safe,” Barrow said. “You silence detractors by your work and by doing great work.” 

Previously, the sheriff was appointed by the county mayor. Voters abolished the office in 1966 after a grand jury uncovered a burglary racket run by then-Sheriff T.A. Buchanan. 

A statewide amendment, approved by voters in 2018, changed the game and required all counties to elect constitutional officers — sheriff, supervisor of elections and tax collector. 

Today, the sheriff oversees a department of 4,000 employees, sworn and non-sworn, with a $815 million annual operating budget. 

Barrow said his priorities are building trust, reducing gun violence and bringing a non-police response to issues involving mental health, homelessness and substance abuse.

“We have to build and maintain trust with the residents of the communities we serve because without trust we won’t be able to do our jobs,” he said. “No cop is able to do their job without trust. I’ve been working on that since day one.” 

Out of uniform, Barrow is a highly skilled musician who serves as Director of Music at St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Key Biscayne.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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