Leavenworth County commissioners have approved funding for two new positions in the County Attorney’s Office.

Leavenworth County commissioners have approved funding for two new positions in the County Attorney’s Office.

County Attorney Todd Thompson met with commissioners Wednesday to discuss his request for the additional staff.

“It’s definitely a need,” he said.

He said the additional staff will help his office with its obligation to turn over discovery evidence to defense attorneys to ensure fair trials.

According to information provided by Thompson to commissioners, the two new positions will cost about $88,000 per year. This is the approximate cost of salaries and benefits for both positions.

He said discovery evidence in modern criminal cases often involves videos from police body cameras that his office has to acquire. He said photographs and videos taken on smartphones also may become discovery evidence that has to be turned over to defense attorneys.

With the additional personnel, Thompson said his office will be able to process discovery evidence and paperwork a lot quicker.

He said the additional staff also should allow the prosecuting attorneys who work in his office to have more time to look over cases.

Thompson said he had talked with the county clerk to determine if the county government has enough money in the current year’s budget to pay for the new positions.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said there is room in the county’s general fund to absorb the additional expense.

Commissioner Chad Schimke noted that 2019 is half over, so the cost of the new positions for this year will be only about $44,000.

Commissioner Mike Stieben noted that the creation of the two new positions will mean that the county will have to pay the $88,000 for the two positions each year going forward.

Commissioners unanimously approved the request.

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