Former Pittsburgh Police chief and state representative Dom Costa is running for Allegheny County sheriff.
“Our county and our country are in the midst of unrest and turmoil right now, and I believe that my life has prepared me to lead during these uncertain times,” Costa said in a statement.
The statement invoked Costa's gratitude for first responders, medical professionals, teachers and “grocery store employees and truck drivers who insure that we have all the essentials we needed." And it was in their “spirit of service and goodness that I am announcing that I am running for the office of Sheriff. My career in public service has equipped me to protect and serve this community that I love.”
The sheriff’s office could be among the higher-profile races on the Allegheny County ballot this year. Current sheriff William Mullen, who has served in the office since 2007, made clear that his previous run for re-election, in 2017, would be his last, and has since said he did not intend to run again. Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus is also expected to contend for the seat.
The office handles a number of responsibilities, including transporting prisoners and providing security in courtrooms, tracking down fugitives, serving court papers and warrants, and issuing firearms licenses.
Costa’s own interest in the sheriff’s office has been well known for years, and he has been reaching out to local Democrats about his run. He already has a quarter-century career in law enforcement, having worked his way up from a police officer in East McKeesport to a city of Pittsburgh police commander and the city’s chief of police in 2006. He was shot in the neck after trying to negotiate with a gunman during a 2002 armed standoff.
Costa, of Stanton Heights, later served five terms as the state Representative in the 21st District, where he was known as a supporter of organized labor but as a conservative on abortion and social issues. He was defeated by Sara Innamorato in 2018.