GREENSBURG The newly appointed sheriff in Kiowa County is on paid leave while commissioners decide whether a nearly 40-year-old public intoxication arrest should end his long law enforcement career.
State law disqualifies sheriffs from office if they have ever been convicted of breaking gambling, liquor or narcotics laws.
In 1968, Galen Marble was arrested for public intoxication. His job as sheriff in the southwest Kansas county is in jeopardy now because of a statute he calls vague and unfair.
"It's the only elected office in the state of Kansas that this law can apply to," Marble said. "I could be a judge, governor. It doesn't even apply to all law enforcement."
When Marble was 22, he was arrested in Salina for being an intoxicated passenger in a car, he said. On the advice of an attorney, he forfeited the bond he had posted and let the matter drop, but never entered a plea.
"I'm assuming that from KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigation) records that was entered as a guilty plea," he said.
Marble went on to spend 14 years with the Salina Police Department and 17 years with the KBI. He retired from the KBI before working as a part-time investigator for the Kiowa County and Ford County sheriff's departments.
Kiowa County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to place Marble, 59, on leave until the issue is sorted out.
"I know the commission as a whole feels like he should have the job," Commissioner Clark Manford said. "He was working out very well as far as I know."