Leavenworth A 22-year veteran of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department was elected sheriff Tuesday in a landslide victory over the director of Leavenworth County Community Corrections.
Herb Nye, who was required to step down as a lieutenant and division commander to run for office, took 16,423 votes. His opponent, Ed Janas, received 6,137 votes.
Nye defeated Terry Campbell, Leavenworth County's sheriff of 16 years, in the August Democratic primary.
He said today that voters responded to his pledge to increase cooperation and communication between law enforcement and governmental agencies both in and around Leavenworth County and his ideas about streamlining the sheriff's department.
"It was basically a lot of door-to-door campaigning and a lot of volunteers getting the message out," he said, adding that an endorsement by Leavenworth's Fraternal Order of Police also added fuel to his campaign. "It just basically boiled down to experience and time in the county."
Opening the lines of communication with other law enforcement agencies and government offices would be a top priority, Nye said. He also plans to look into ways of consolidating communications and possibly clerical operations in the department to cut down on duplicated services.
The sheriff-elect said he also planned to "start an all-out war on drugs." While area communities and counties have applied for state and federal grants to battle drug use, "right now the county is doing very little to combat drugs as I see it," Nye said.
"I would like to see a joint task force with cities and also some of the surrounding counties," he said.
Campbell's administration was the target of criticism regarding the investigation into the disappearance of a Linwood teen-ager, Randy Leach, in 1988. Leach's parents, Harold and Alberta Leach, were strong supporters of Nye in this election.
Nye said his plan to increase cooperation with area law enforcement and government agencies might help shed some light on the Leach case and other major cases in Leavenworth County. "When we start cooperating with other agencies, this might get more attention," he said. "I certainly want to do something with that as soon as possible."
The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department has a staff of 48 people, including about 36 officers, Nye said. He will take the helm in mid-January.