Eagle editorial: Do better on serving protection orders

06/13/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:17 AM

People who ask for protection from abuse or stalking deserve much better than a 50 percent success rate in serving court orders. But that has been the range recently in Sedgwick County – and it needs to improve.

As a news article in the Sunday Eagle reported, so far this year the success rate of the Sheriff’s Office in serving protection from abuse orders is 54 percent. The success rate for protection from stalking orders is 56 percent. Last year’s rates were only slightly better.

One problem is that the protection applications sometimes don’t include correct address information. But the bigger issue is that there are only three commissioned deputies serving papers (down from four). And when there are more than 5,000 applications for protection in a year, that doesn’t give the deputies much time to track down those being served (which must be done in person).

The county needs to assign more deputies or privatize the job, if possible. It also needs to improve communication between the court clerk and the Sheriff’s Office, so that the deputies have adequate time to serve the orders.

As sheriff’s Capt. Brenda Dietzman noted, the people who apply for protection are desperate. “They don’t have a lot of options,” she said, “and we’re one of those options.”

They deserve better.

For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee

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