AUDIO: Falletti Backs Constitutional Amendment Question On County Sheriffs As Election Day Nears

Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti, right, poses for a picture with Deputy Brian Young who graduated from the 290th Class at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in March. (Photo courtesy Cowley County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page)

Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti said he favors a question on Tuesday’s midterm ballot that, if approved by voters, would amend the Kansas constitution to require the election of a county sheriff in counties that have not already abolished the office as of January 2022, and provide that sheriffs may be recalled from office or removed via the state attorney general.

While nearly every county in the state elects its own sheriff, Riley County has had consolidated law enforcement since 1974 and does not have a sheriff, but rather a director of the Riley County Police Department.

“There’s been some confusion,” Falletti told Bob FM Monday morning.

Falletti said he supports the amendment because it ensures that county sheriffs across the state will remain elected positions. A “yes” vote would bar counties from consolidating its law enforcement — however, Riley County will remain as is. A “no” vote keeps the state’s constitution as is, keeps the option open for counties to consider consolidated law enforcement and continues heavier local involvement in the removal of a sheriff.

“You vote for who you want to be your sheriff,” Falletti said. “You don’t want a city commission or someone saying who your sheriff is. That’s an elected position, and we answer to the people of Cowley County — or I do. Every four years we’re voted in. We run on the presidential cycle. It’s the only elected law enforcement position in the state of Kansas.”

Falletti said while there are no problems regarding the working relationship between the Cowley County Attorney’s Office and the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office, he said the amendment, if passed, would put the ball in the state attorney general’s court if there is findings of wrongdoing with a county sheriff.

“Me and (Cowley County Attorney) Larry Schwartz get along really good — there’s been no problems there,” Falletti said. “But if you have a county where there’s some local politics — say the sheriff’s office arrests the county attorney’s son or daughter and they get into a riff — well that county attorney can bring charges against that sheriff. What this amendment will do will take those local politics out of it.

“And if for some reason I or another sheriff does something wrong, we should be held accountable. And instead of it going to that local county attorney, the local county attorney can communicate with the attorney general’s office and that’s who would handle that case.”

Falletti said ouster procedures at the local level would still remain in place if the amendment passes.

“It’s an important vote,” he said.

Falletti’s full comments from Monday morning can be listened to below: