Sheriff-elect looking for a few good officers
Maj Dave Zoellner is eager for Jan. 10, so he can start making good on promises he made during his campaign for Leavenworth County sheriff.
Zoellner, a 36-year veteran of the sheriff's office, faced a challenger in August's Democratic primary. After breezing through that race, Zoellner ran unopposed in Tuesday's general election, garnering 21,082 votes.
And now, the 57-year-old undersheriff must wait two months before he takes over as Leavenworth County's top law enforcement officer.
But he's ready.
"I want to find ways to do a better job of recruiting and look for competent, qualified applicants," Zoellner said Wednesday. "We were down 20 funded positions. I think now we're down 18. That's a priority, to do a better job of recruiting and to get qualified applicants. We're always fighting with higher-paying organizations in the metropolitan Kansas City area."
Once more officers are on patrol, Zoellner plans to increase the number of patrol districts, particularly in the rapidly growing segments of Leavenworth County.
And communication will be a key ingredient of Zoellner's tenure as sheriff.
"Obviously, there are going to be two new county commissioners, and I look forward to working with the board of county commissioners," he said.
But he promises it won't stop there.
"I want to listen," he said. "I want to be able to listen to the officers. I want to encourage their input and to work with shared visions and shared solutions."
And he's keenly aware that he's an elected official and he owes his job to county residents.
"I'm working for the people," he said. "I will not only listen to employees, but I will listen to the public. If there are problems that need to be looked at, I will listen."
After working his way up through the sheriff's office, fulfilling his dream of leading the organization will mean a significant shift for the man who loves the working side of law enforcement.
"I will be more involved in the community relations part of it, the public perception or public interest side of the office," he said. "It's my job to lead and not be the doer. My personal goal is to be a better effective leader."