Candidate for Butler County Sheriff Carl Enterkin answered questions about everything from the sheriff's department budget and a death at the Butler County Jail to his law enforcement history, stance on marijuana and whether he lived and paid taxes in Butler County during a town hall meeting May 31 at Butler Community College.
Those attending the meeting had the opportunity to submit their questions, which moderator Kent Bush then asked of Enterkin.
Enterkin opened with a statement to the group.
"I wanted to be a cop for a long time," he said.
He retired from the Wichita Police Department in 1999, joining after he had gotten out of the Air Force. From there, he worked as chief of police at Garden Plain for three years before returning to the Wichita area.
The first question he addressed was about his employment and desire to be sheriff.
Enterkin said he does receive retirement benefits from the Wichita Police Department.
As to why he wanted to be sheriff, he said, "If you ever do a job you really like, you never want to stop."
He also was asked why he didn't apply for the job when former Sheriff Craig Murphy left office.
Enterkin said he didn't because he was employed at the time and enjoyed what he was doing.
He also was asked about his residency and if he had paid taxes in Butler County.
Enterkin moved to Andover in March. He did register his vehicle here and pay taxes for that.
He also was asked if he would build or buy a house in Butler County whether he won the election or not.
He said he would if he found suitable land that was reasonably priced.
Later in the meeting, the question was brought up again by a resident who did not feel it was answered fully, asking Enterkin for a yes or no answer.
Page 2 of 6 - Enterkin said he would build a house here either way.
Other questions addressed his philosophy on law enforcement. The first asked about federal grant money, and if Enterkin would take any if strings were attached.
"The Constitution should be the guiding bible of law enforcement," he said, adding that he would not apply for federal grant money that had requirements attached. "The Constitution is not political. It is a document people much smarter than me put together many years ago.
"I have seen it erode so law enforcement officers can do a lot of things."
He said law enforcement officers have the ability to take a person's property, liberty and life without asking, with often times nothing being done about it.
He also was asked what he would do with current employees and how he would address turnover in the department.
Enterkin said he did not have an ax to grind with any of the current employees.
"You treat people like you want to be treated," he said.
He said he would mentor and help them become better officers.
As for turnover, he said every agency has it, and he would look to see if there was any causes that needed to be addressed. He suggested a labor-management committee to find out what problems are causing turnover.
"I know how to get problems identified and work on solutions," he said.
He also did not know of any changes he would make regarding dispatch.
Whether he believed there was corruption in the current office was another topic addressed.
"When it becomes the guiding principal of protecting the staff at the top rather than the citizens, corruption is there," Enterkin said.
He said any time a citizen is harmed and the office tries to spin the situation in their favor, there is corruption.
"I think there are occasions this has occurred," Enterkin said.
One specific case brought up was a family who lost their daughter at what they believed was the hands of a sheriff's deputy nine years ago. They were not happy with the outcome of the case.
Page 3 of 6 - Enterkin said homicide cases are a top priority.
"We're the only ones who speak for the victims," he said. "Frequently the victims are not identified or addressed and they are pushed aside."
He said he was not above looking at the case again to see if something was overlooked.
One thing Enterkin would do if elected is develop a cold case squad, saying he knows people who would do this for free.
Another statement of Enterkin's brought up a question about the multiple deaths at the jail, asking for the total and when they occurred.
He said he only had information on one, but they are working to gather information on others.
"Anytime you have a death when in law enforcement custody, there is a certain procedure that should be engaged," Enterkin said. "You should not investigate yourselves. It needs to be an agency with objectivity."
He said they have to look at if the death occurred because of criminal negligence, and if there were any policies violated. He said with this case, which occurred in 2007, it was immediately spun as a natural death from disease.
"The question is was the death preventable," he said.
While current Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet was not sheriff at the time, Enterkin said he did investigate the death through his position with the sheriff's office at the time.
He suggested they could have released the woman, who was in jail on drug charges but complained of health problems, so she could take herself to the hospital, then pick her up again on another charge.
Looking at the sheriff's budget, Enterkin was asked what he would do to better manage the budget.
He pointed out the budget increased from $3.2 million to more than $6 million in recent years, but he was corrected by an audience member who explained the $3.2 million was for administration only and the $6.7 million included administration and the jail, so the actual increase was from $4.6 million to $6.4 million. Enterkin apologized for the mistake with the numbers.
He said usually the biggest line in a budget is the salary, but Butler County deputies were not making what those in Sedgwick County do. He said he couldn't say for sure how he would change the budget until he could see a copy and look at where every line goes.
Page 4 of 6 - One part of the budget specifically asked about was patrol cars and his experience purchasing them.
He said the state has a good program through which they can get discounted cars. They also can negotiate with dealerships.
"Those out putting their lives on the line and being at the sharp end of the stick should have the best tools," he said. "If I'm the boss, they're going to get it before me, staff or investigators."
One resident asked if Enterkin would do unconstitutional asset forfeiture procedures.
He said not unconstitutional ones, but he would ones that are legal, explaining that while he was at the Wichita Police Department they seized assets of convicted drug dealers. He said he would not go outside of due process.
Another person asked about a quote attributed to Enterkin that he would kill everyone he meets. Enterkin explained this was a training scenario teaching officers to get their mind right that not everyone they meet will like them.
"Many officers in situations where they could use deadly force, don't," he said.
A sexual harassment lawsuit also was brought up in a question.
Enterkin said there had been a case in the early 1990s when he was first made lieutenant and the political correctness atmosphere was at its height. He was leading some training and made a statement someone thought was inappropriate. He received a letter of reprimand for that incident.
"I took it as a training moment," he said. "How could I get the information across without offending people."
Enterkin also was asked about his Bronze Wreath of Valor he received.
He explained while he was in Wichita, there was a young lady who was kidnapped by her boyfriend in the early 1990s.
"We believed we had a relatively short time frame to save her," he said.
They got a crew together and booted down her door, catching the suspect as he was trying to escape and saving the girl who was close to death. Enterkin was one of the officers recognized for these actions.
Another question asked if he was in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Page 5 of 6 -
Enterkin said he did not believe in complete legalization. He believes marijuana is a gateway drug.
"Kids are easily influenced today," he said, adding that drug dealers are criminals.
But, he said, if a person is an adult and in their home smoking marijuana, he said he has higher priorities than kicking down their door, as long as they are not selling it.
"If you want the law to change, then change the law," he said.
He also was asked why he was called Crazy Carl.
He said Ralph Clark gave him the nickname while he was with the WPD. He rode a motorcycle at the time and did not like to give up a chase. After one particularly grueling chase he was given the name.
"I'm a risk taker," he said. "I'm crazy about this job."
Enterkin also was asked why Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet was not at the event, which Enterkin had originally scheduled to be a debate with Herzet.
While he said he could not speak to why not, he had been told Herzet had a conflict of schedule, which he also was told may be erroneous.
In a former story, Herzet had said he had a Flinthills board meeting.
"If I'm sheriff, I'm sheriff," Enterkin said. "I'm not going to be on the board of directors or anything else. I've always been opposed to having law enforcement on directorial boards."
He said he did not mind contributing, though.Enterkin was asked how he was planning to accomplish everything he has proposed.
He said one way is through volunteer work.
In a flier he put out, he stated there was no longer a reserve program, although he was told at the meeting there are still four reserve officers. This is a program he would like to increase, as well as proposing a civilian deputy academy.
He also wants to get raises for the deputies, saying he was pro-Fraternal Order of the Police and did not mind unions or oppose any agencies that worked to benefit their members, although he thought they could accomplish what was needed without unions.
Page 6 of 6 - Some attending the meeting did have concerns over the amount of negative information they felt Enterkin was putting out, questioning how many of the things he had mentioned Herzet was responsible for during his time as sheriff.
"The head of any agency has the obligation to make changes when they see the need," he said. "The big thing to me is the potential harm coming to people in our custody. Do we wait until something else happens?"
Enterkin said while it may seem negative, he is trying to get as many facts as possible out to people.
Locally, Enterkin has been endorsed by former Butler County Sheriff Stan Cox, for whom he served as a reserve at one time.