WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The election is weeks away, and Kansans will vote on a sheriff’s amendment.
A ‘yes’ vote allows the public to elect a sheriff in all Kansas counties except Riley County. It also gives the Attorney General the right to remove a sheriff from office.
A vote ‘no’ would not make any changes to the constitution and would retain current law concerning the election of a sheriff and their removal from office.
The amendment has been in the works for about four years.
The Kansas Sheriffs’ Association wanted to protect the right for sheriffs to be elected after some counties started looking at removing sheriff as an elected position.
But some who oppose the amendment said it isn’t as simple as it seems.
“It’s about preserving the office of the sheriff and making sure the public always gets a say in who their county sheriff is,” said Graham County Sheriff Cole Presley.
Sheriff’s KSN News talked with said a sheriff is elected to serve the people, and they want to keep it that way.
“Puts it in the constitution, which is important and solidifies that position to ensure that it does happen every four years,” said Ellis County Sheriff Scott Braun.
But some feel it oversteps a boundary. Currently, no city or county position is in the Kansas constitution.
“It ties the hands of local voters to be able to make choices about the way that they want local law enforcement performed,” said Women for Kansas Representative and Former Kansas of Association of Counties Education Director Marla Flentje.
Flentje said Women for Kansas oppose this amendment because it is misleading and undemocratic.
She said it would take away from local prosecutors being able to remove sheriffs from office due to misconduct.
“What that means is it will be virtually impossible to ever change the office of sheriff if it has status in the state constitution,” said Flentje.
“It still preserves the ouster process, and if a sheriff is accused of wrongdoing, the Kansas Attorney General has the right to start the ouster process for that particular sheriff,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter.