The following is a question-and-answer series with candidate Hiawatha Police Department Capt. Dennis Entrikin, challenger for Brown County Sheriff.
Q. Share about yourself and your family.
A. I was raised in Horton, Kansas, son of Jim and Dorothea Entrikin. I graduated from Horton High School in 1995 and studied theology through Liberty University. Brown County is my home and I live with my beautiful wife, Amy, in the countryside just west of Hiawatha. Together, we have nine wonderful children, and are proud parents of our children who serve in the military, attend college and are active in their schools and community.
Q. How long have you worked in law enforcement and in what capacities?
A. I have been certified in full-time law enforcement for over 17 years. I joined the Kansas Army National Guard in December 1993 and served until December 1995. In 2000, I joined the Brown County Sheriff’s Reserves and was then hired as a full-time officer for Sabetha PD in 2002. I attended the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and graduated in October 2002.
In 2003, I became a full-time deputy for the Nemaha County Sheriff’s Office. I have worked at Nemaha County for 17 years, 10 years full time and the past seven years as a part-time deputy. I began working full time for the Hiawatha Police Department in May 2013 and was promoted to captain in July that same year. I served as the head of the Nemaha County Sheriff’s Reserves and have earned certifications as a field training officer, instructor, range master and supervisor.
Q. What do you feel are the most important responsibilities of a county sheriff?
A. As sheriff, my primary responsibilities are to protect, serve and advocate for the people. While the state mandates serving civil process, managing the jail, etc., it is crucial to be a strong leader focused on training and skills necessary to provide the best enforcement of the law, security for the people and service to residents, including the areas without a police department, tribal entities and other agencies. Most importantly, I have sworn my oath to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States since 1993. This oath remains as important to me now as the first time I raised my right hand.
Q. What experience and/or training qualifies you for this position?
A. I have over 17 years of full-time law enforcement experience. I have more than 1,000 training hours among 27 standard certifications and 30 administrative, supervisory, instructor and specialty certifications. I am a field training officer, internal affairs investigator and have attended the Kansas Police Administrators training. I hold multiple investigation instructor certificates including domestic violence, hate crimes and domestic terrorism. I have worked in a jail setting and functioned in a supervisory role as captain of the Hiawatha Police Department. I am a certified NRA firearms instructor for law enforcement and civilians.
Q. Explain some of your most notable achievements in law enforcement.
A. Serving as captain of the Hiawatha Police Department has been one of my greatest honors and achievements. I provided ALiCE training to help residents, business owners, city employees, school personnel and students understand the importance of active shooter preparedness and other emergency safety measures. I participated in the Sunflower Case that started Operation Sunflower, a federal child pornography initiative protecting children from sexual predators. I was also grateful to receive a Medal of Honor for helping save the life of a co-worker.
Q. As far as law enforcement is concerned, what do you think are the three most important issues that need to be addressed in Brown County in the near future? Explain why, and what you intend to do to address those issues.
A. 1. Too often, agencies think they are contacting the correct resource for help, but this is frequently not the case. I intend to work with all agencies to have a better understanding of what each agency CAN provide, not what we THINK they can provide. That information can then be shared so everyone has a proper understanding of which agency can offer the greatest assistance or solution.
2. All too often law enforcement is called to assist or handle a situation where an individual is having a mental health issue. Law enforcement, as a whole, can never spend the time necessary to become experts in mental health. A large part of the solution to this problem is also incorporated into the above issue. Mental health issues regularly incorporate short-term and long-term problems and solutions requiring the proper agencies to be involved.
3. Security for residents is always a fundamental concern. Security is provided in one of two ways: more law enforcement or self-security. As sheriff, we will always be willing to teach citizens training such as ALiCE and promote one’s right to self-security at home, on the range or in a gun-free zone.
Q. What short and long term plans do you have for the improvement of Brown County, where the law and public safety are concerned?
A. Law enforcement and public safety are my highest concern. I will focus on training and professional development to provide essential tools needed for improved service. The sheriff’s office has an excellent group of qualified personnel who deserve focused, relevant and effective training to be outstanding in their own careers and for Brown County.
I will conduct a diligent budget review to manage and utilize funds in a manner that correctly reflects the priorities and needs of the people. My long-term plan is for the sheriff’s office to operate within a reasonable and fiscally responsible budget that supports public safety programs, keeps operating costs low and allocates funding to areas of greatest need.
Q. Why do you want to be sheriff and why should constituents vote for you in the upcoming election?
A. I will provide respectful, ethical and constitutional law enforcement for county residents. I have years of leadership and law enforcement experience, the training necessary to lead the sheriff’s office and the desire to be the sheriff the county needs, especially during these troubling times. I am a citizen of Brown County, not separate or above, and I will preserve and protect the rights of all.