Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones announced Wednesday that he would not complete his second elected term as prosecutor. He’s taking a job in Utah.
Jones, an Arizona native, began working in the county attorney’s office in November 2011. He was appointed to finish the four-year term of former County Attorney Hillary McKinney, who resigned in December 2015. He was elected to his second four-year term in November.
In his resignation letter, Jones said his resignation is effective Sept. 1.
“Ten years ago, I could scarcely have believed how wonderful this community would be for my family and me. I moved here fresh out of law school with five kids and a desire to make a difference. This community accepted us, took us in and treated us like family. This is a community full of amazing hardworking, kind and loving individuals,” Jones wrote.
He said he has tried to make Labette County a better place and has tried to be more responsive to crime victims. He said he’s tried to listen to anyone who wanted to meet with him.
“I have been able to renovate the county attorney’s office both physically and technologically with an ever-shrinking budget without costing the taxpayer more. I have been able to work with all of the five local law enforcement agencies and supply them with body cameras, drones, cages for dogs and technology for the courthouse and judicial center. Again, this was all done without incurring additional costs to the taxpayers of Labette County,” Jones wrote.
He said he believes he is leaving the office in a better place than when he took over. He also helped establish a behavior health court four years ago. He said this was possible with the help of Court Services, law enforcement and Labette Center for Mental Health Service. He believes the court has made a difference to all involved.
For the past five years he has attempted to restart a Batterers Intervention Program in Labette County. He said this program is the single greatest tool any community has against domestic violence. He has served on the Kansas Attorney General’s Batterers Intervention Program Advisory Board during his term.
“It is my sincere prayer the next county attorney is able to bring this program to Labette County,” Jones said.
“Finally, I would like to thank two groups of people. First, I would like to thank the victims I have been fortunate to work with over the last 10 years. Thank you for letting me be your voice. Even those who did not want to work with me. Thank you for letting me listen to your concerns and questions. Secondly, thank you to the amazing office staff I have been so blessed to work with over the last decade. You have shared in the vicarious trauma this job brings. Thank you for making this job worth doing. You are the reason anything got done,” Jones wrote.
“I wish I could have done more to show my appreciation for everything you have given up to work in this office; it was an honor to work alongside you. Your skill, knowledge and work ethic made me the envy of every law office in the Southeast Kansas legal community. The citizens of Labette County have no idea how lucky they are to have you,” he wrote.
Mandy Johnson is deputy county attorney. The office staff is Darcy Wiford, office manager; Lea Long, Cheyenne LeFalier and Kiersten Kramer, all legal assistants.
Jones, a Washburn University School of Law graduate, will be working in the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jones is a Republican, so the Labette County Republican Party will need to meet in the near future to recommend his replacement.