Archive for Tuesday, July 6, 1999


July 6, 1999


Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson is a country boy, and Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin is a city boy, according to a former colleague who worked with both men.

Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin is a sailing enthusiast who favors French and Japanese cuisines. Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson leans to fried chicken or biscuits and gravy, and he likes sitting on the porch of an evening.

Those aren't the only differences between the two top cops in Douglas County. But what whets their appetites goes a long way toward illustrating their contrasting styles.

"It's a good example," says Don Dalquest, who put in 30 years in law enforcement before putting away his badge in 1995. "You see, one's a city boy and one's a country boy, and if you really look at it, the city boy is more like Jack Webb (Joe Friday from 'Dragnet') and Loren's more like Andy Griffith."

Dalquest would know. He worked 23 years for the police department and seven for the sheriff's office and says he enjoyed serving both lawmen. He says he still respects both men.

"I'd give them both an A," Dalquest says with a chuckle. "Both of these guys are dedicated to their departments. I'd go back to work for either one of them."

Anderson and Olin both grew up in Lawrence and have spent their adult lives catching criminals. When pressed to talk about what makes them tick, the fellow Lawrence High School graduates each point to a passion for law enforcement, a shared goal of fairness and a commitment to the communities they serve.

They run into each other several times a day in the hallway shared by their departments, go to many of the same meetings and often pool resources to get their jobs done.

Overlooking demographics, their jobs essentially are the same, but how they do them is a study in contrasts.

"I think they are definitely two very different individuals," says Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich. Pointing out the differences in the populations that Anderson and Olin serve, Tonkovich adds, "They have to have a different management style just as I have to have a different management style than (the district attorney) from Johnson County."

Call the elected sheriff, and if he's in, he'll answer the phone and greet callers with his first name. Olin, who serves at the appointment of the city manager, is considerably more formal.

Olin is a college graduate who holds a doctorate in developmental psychology. He's been through the FBI Academy, speaks German and French, and has studied Japanese and Spanish.

Anderson left Kansas State University in 1965 after running out of tuition money. He prefers the country life and is happy spending the evening sitting outdoors with his second wife.

Anderson has two children, two grandchildren, two dogs, a cat, a donkey on a diet and a quarter horse.

Olin, also in his second marriage, has neither children nor pets, unless you count his BMW motorcycle.

When the Journal-World asked both men to visit them at home, Anderson agreed. Olin declined.

Dalquest calls Anderson laid-back and Olin more aggressive.

The sheriff and chief are not oblivious to their personality differences. But they say that despite those differences, they get along and strive to support each other's department. Tonkovich says one good example of that is how they cooperated last year when two men took Ralph and Leila Leary hostage at the couple's home south of Lawrence.

"We have different philosophies, but that doesn't seem to hinder the cooperation. Our priority is to catch the bad guy," the sheriff said during an interview in his office just down the hall from Olin's in the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

Echoing Tonkovich, Olin stresses that many of the differences stem from the communities they serve.

"We operate in an urban environment," the chief says. "He operates in a rural environment. Obviously that's a huge difference. The kinds of events we deal with are much different."

In today's Journal-World, you'll find profiles of both men and a look at their public and private lives.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is


Age: 48

Education: Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin is a 1968 Lawrence High School graduate. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1975 in education from Kansas University, a master's degree in 1976 from Wichita State University in administration of justice and a doctorate in 1983 in developmental psychology from KU.

Family: Divorced once, remarried, no children.

Salary: $82,104.

Longevity: With the Lawrence Police Department since 1971, chief since 1987.

His job: Olin oversees 118 employees. Last year department members wrote 18,000 incident reports and were dispatched to 102,000 calls for service.

A case that still gets to him: The murder of Richard Settlemyre, a 9-year-old whose mutilated body was found July 14, 1988, floating in the Kansas River.

Quote: Growing up, Olin had an interest in either being a lawyer or an FBI agent. "I was always interested in solving puzzles."


Age: 56.

Education: Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson is a 1961 Lawrence High School graduate. Out of money, the sheriff quit his studies at Kansas State University in 1965.

Salary: $77,084.

Family: Divorced once, remarried, two daughters, two grandchildren.

Longevity: With the Douglas County Sheriff's Department since 1965. Voters first elected him sheriff in 1988. He's now in his third four-year term, which expires January 2001.

His job: He oversees 107 people. Last year department members wrote 2,504 reports and were dispatched to 5,928 calls for service.

The case that still gets to him: The murder of a Woolworth manager who left work early to be with his son for the boy's birthday.

Quote: "I feel comfortable whether I'm talking to you, the governor or an inmate. There's no difference."

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