Underfunding to Defunding the Johnson County Sheriff

Printed in the Johnson County Gazette
Shared with Permission

by Charlotte O’Hara

It began with our Sheriff’s Office being UNDERFUNDED for years by the JoCo Board of County Commissioners which severely handicapped recruitment and retention of Sheriff deputies.  Finally, in September of last year, the BOCC relented and increased the Sheriff’s budget to staunch the hemorrhaging of officers because of inadequate compensation.

Great news and the results are in.  From 79 deputy vacancies, we are now down to 23!!!  JoCo should be celebrating that with these additional officers, our crime rate in the unincorporated area has fallen more than 4% compared to increased crime rates of up to 34% (Prairie Village) in our incorporated areas.

How did your BOCC respond to this great news?  By DEFUNDING your Sheriff’s Office.  No longer are they just UNDERFUNDING the Sheriff, now they are DEFUNDING the Sheriff.  On August 3rd by a 5-2 vote (in the minority myself and Commissioner Ashcraft, as usual) the BOCC unilaterally approved a Memorandum of Understanding which undercuts and destroys our Sheriff’s authority to hire outside counsel.  If OUR Sheriff does not sign the memorandum, all funding for outside counsel will be cut off as of August 3rd, thus DEFUNDING the Sheriff.

Underfunding to DEFUNDING, this is a perfect synopsis of your Board of County Commission’s majority action toward our Sheriff’s Office: brazen disrespect, contempt, and a naked power grab in order to diminish the independence of our duly elected Sheriff.  Who should OUR elected Sheriff answer to: county bureaucrats or YOU, the good folks of JoCo?

Power plays and brinksmanship, what a way to foster a working relationship with our Sheriff. 
I am appalled beyond words.

Discussion begins at 2:50:10

View the Briefing sheet here:


Read the Memorandum here:


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