For new Marion County Undersheriff Dave Huntley, he’s returning to a job he had more than 20 years ago.
It was 1985 when Huntley was Marion County Undersheriff, at that time working for Sheriff Mike Childs.
“Marion County is my home. I had always talked about coming back,” he said.
Huntley and new Sheriff Rob Craft have known each other for many years, particularly when Craft was a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper.
“I told Rob I would work for him if he was elected,” Huntley said.
Born and raised in Florence, Huntley began his law enforcement career in 1981 with Florence Police Department. He left that department in 1985 to join the sheriff’s department where he worked for two years.
For the past 20 years, he was a deputy with Harvey County Sheriff Department.
Even though there is a difference of population between Harvey and Marion counties, there are many similarities.
Both counties have similar problems with burglaries, illicit drug use, and drunk driving.
“There was more of it in Harvey County but there are the same issues in just about every county,” Huntley said. He noted there is a big difference between the two counties regarding the number of square miles in the county. Marion County is much larger than Harvey County when it comes to the area between the county’s borders.
The Undersheriff’s experience at Harvey County included general patrol, serving civil process documents, and custodian of the equipment used to test drivers for intoxication.
He will have similar duties in Marion County, including the typical administrative responsibilities associated with the second-in-command of a department, with more duties to be determined.
One option Huntley and Craft is considering is having an investigator in the department.
“We had two at Harvey County but I realize Harvey County had a larger caseload than Marion County,” he said.
Currently, deputies investigate their own cases which can take many hours away from other duties.
Huntley and his wife, Erin, recently purchased a home in rural Peabody. Erin is a medical assistant at Hesston.
The couple has two sons, Brandon, 20, who is a college student, and David, 17, a junior at Newton High School.
“I know how important it is for me to live in the county that I’m serving. Plus, I wanted to move back,” Huntley said with a smile.
So, what’s on his “to do” list?
“I want to crack down on illegal drugs,” Huntley said.
He said there is a deputy in the department dedicated to working with youth but he also is an advocate of child safety.
“My main duty in Harvey County was to detect drunk drivers,” he said, “and I want to eliminate drunk driving in Marion County.”
During his years in law enforcement, he has seen changes in attitudes about drinking and driving.
“I’m seeing more designated drivers which is great,” he said, but he’s going to keep a sharp eye for those who decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.
Even though Huntley’s been gone for two decades from his hometown and county, he’s looking forward to renewing old acquaintances and making introductions.
“I’m looking forward to getting out in the public and intend to serve many years here,” he said.
“It’s great to be back.”