OLATHE, Kansas –– Recognizing his leadership on law enforcement issues, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and Sheriff Frank Denning announced Tuesday their endorsement of Gov. Sam Brownback for a second term in office.
Howe and Denning, the top law enforcement officials in the largest county in Kansas, told a gathering on the grounds of the Johnson County Courthouse that Brownback has a proven record of working with prosecutors and law enforcement to address pressing issues that affect public safety.
“The governor has always provided support for those who work in public safety,” Howe said. “Thank you for making public safety a top priority.”
The Republican governor thanked Howe and Denning for their support and praised their efforts to combat human trafficking and drugs in the county, as well as working with his administration and legislators to make common sense changes to state law.
“This election is about choices. I’m proud of our record of standing as a strong partner with local law enforcement to give them the tools to fight crime and protect victims,” Brownback said. “I will continue to work to fight the scourges of human trafficking and illegal drugs that lurk the back rooms and dark alleys of our state.”
Joining the Governor at the event was Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland and Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The governor also toured the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistic Laboratory.
Denning said the Governor’s support to give law enforcement the tools and training to effectively fight crime was making a difference.
“Being sheriff, my first obligation is the public’s safety. Governor Brownback has worked to ensure that communities are safe and remain safe,” Denning said. “I’m a strong advocate for what he has done for criminal justice and law enforcement on a daily basis.”
Governor Brownback has a record of fighting human trafficking. As U.S. Senator in 2000 he was a co-sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which provides federal funding for anti-trafficking provisions and new assistance programs. The act also provides severe punishment for persons convicted of operating trafficking enterprises in the United States and possibility of punishment for those located in other countries.
As Governor, he worked with Attorney General Derek Schmidt, legislators, prosecutors and law enforcement to strengthen Kansas human trafficking laws and end the exploitation of women and children. That included stronger penalties for those convicted of human trafficking, as well as programs to provide assistance to the victims of these horrible crimes.
In 2013, Governor Brownback acted quickly to call a special session to address the state’s Hard 50 prison sentence following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Virginia case that had implications on Kansas law. He kept legislators on task and on time, finishing their work and reinstating the law.
“This gave prosecutors the ability to insure that some of the most heinous murderers never walk the streets again,” Howe said.
The Governor also signed a law in 2014 that reformed the state’s premeditated murder law to be a minimum of 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole, ensuring harsher punishment for the worst of crimes.
Brownback also signed a bill that authorized that state’s partnership with Washburn University to build a new crime lab for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that will increase the state’s capacity to collect, process and preserve evidence in criminal cases and increase the speed of justice.