Barton Co. Attorney: “We want to increase our efficiency in prosecuting criminals”

BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Barton County commissioners haven’t heard the best public feedback about the county attorney’s office. Former county attorney Doug Matthews and his officer have been criticized for moving slowly or not at all on some cases.

“Prosecutors and cops have a love-hate relationship,” said Barton County’s Sheriff Brian Bellendir. “Sometimes we get frustrated and I’m sure they get frustrated with us sometimes, but it is frustrating to send a case over, sometimes, and not get prosecution as promptly as you would think.”

This year, the office has a new county attorney — Amy Mellor– with Matthews serving as assistant county attorney. They also hired an additional attorney, focusing on traffic cases — plus a secretary.

According to Mellor, the additional help will increase productivity with cases.

“We want to increase our efficiency in prosecuting criminals and make Great Bend and Barton County a safer place,” she said.

The hiring of more staff and purchases of additional office equipment is about $130,000. These funds would be tax dollars already included in the budget.

The county commission is also trying to help the office, with a $17,000 remodeling project and a $3,000 filing cabinet.

Mellor said she hopes these changes will change the public’s view of her office, adding that the public’s trust is important to her.