The state should be more creative in the way it prosecutes criminals, says a Wichita Democrat running for attorney general.
Picture criminals working in public view in road gangs, wearing bright orange jumpsuits. Or retired people volunteering time to help in investigations. And even more county-based undercover stings.
Richard Schodorf, a Wichita Democrat running for attorney general, says he has a lot of crime-fighting ideas he would like to bring to the attorney general's office.
"In my view we need to be far more creative with the laws we have," said Schodorf, who was campaigning Friday in Lawrence.
Schodorf is a 45-year-old prosecutor and former chief attorney of the Sedgwick County district attorney's office's division of consumer fraud and economic crime. He faces two opponents in the Democratic primary in August.
The two opponents are Jerry Shelor, a Topeka attorney, and former House Speaker Marvin Barkis, who announced Friday he would get out of the Democratic governor's race and into the hunt for the party's attorney general nomination.
Schodorf welcomed Barkis' entry into the race.
"It just offers the voters a definite choice," he said. "I have no trouble with Marvin. He comes from the left wing of the party, and I come from the right. We'll offer a strong contrast to the voters."
Schodorf, who has been a Sedgwick County prosecutor for eight years, says the state can be more creative in punishing offenders.
For example, he said some juvenile offenders and other criminals could be sentenced to working in road gangs during the weekend, wearing bright orange jumpsuits.
"Shame is one of the top motivators of human behavior, and we're not using it. ... I think it does people good to see others being punished," he said. "If you don't have adequate punishment, you can't expect people to respect the law."
Schodorf said he also is a big believer in conducting undercover sting operations, which he has put together in Sedgwick County. He said such operations help discourage consumer fraud.
Schodorf also said he would ask retired people to volunteer their time to help in undercover operations and retired military and government investigators to conduct routine background checks.