The following is a question-and-answer session with Atchison County Sheriff Candidate Adam Potts, a Republican challenger running against incumbent Sheriff Jack Laurie, a Republican. Winner of the upcoming primary receives the Republican nod to face off against former Sheriff John Calhoon, a Democrat, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Q. How long have you worked in law enforcement and in what capacities?
A. I have been in law enforcement for about 17 year. I started as an Atchison County Reserve, and became a full-time deputy in 2004 as I was finishing college. I was a sheriff’s deputy for Atchison County a majority of the time. I was a police officer for the Horton Police Department for a period of time in 2007 and have been a patrolman for Sac & Fox Tribal Police since December of 2019.
Q. What do you feel are the most important responsibilities of a county sheriff?
A. I feel that serving the citizens of Atchison County in a respectful, cooperative, and fiscally responsible manner is very important. Just as important is being a leader to the staff of the Sheriff’s Office, making their physical and psychological well-being crucial, while doing the job alongside them to show a willingness to lead from the front. To incorporate these two responsibilities the Sheriff must maintain as a liaison between the citizens and the public with a proper level of interaction with both and encouraging interactions between them as well.
Q. What experiences and/or training qualifies you for this position?
A. My schooling in sociological and anthropological studies at Kansas State University, along with my growing up and working in my youth and adulthood in Atchison County give me a unique perspective on how to work for and with the citizens. I have also been formally trained by the US Army and the Kansas National Guard to be a leader of complicated organizations, both large and small, for multiple scenarios from civil, to emergency, to combat environments. I have always tried to look for and develop my law enforcement experiences and trainings, to continually increase my interactions with the people of Atchison County to establish respect and understanding.
Q. What are your most notable achievements in law enforcement?
A. I feel that my notable achievements are the multiple situations where I have helped citizens feel that they matter, their voice was heard, and their concerns were taken seriously enough for them to make mention to my Sheriff, or to the public. I do take pride in knowing that I was one of the first deputies in Atchison County to become SWAT/SRT certified. I also received a commendation for selfless service during a tragic incident.
Q. What are three most important issues that need to be addressed regarding Atchison County law enforcement at present and/or within the near future? How do you expect to address those issues?
A. I feel the major things that need to be addressed are the relationships between the Sheriff’s Office and surrounding agencies and communities; the presence and interactions of the Sheriff’s Office throughout the county; and management and care of the staff of the Sheriff’s Office. I expect to address by being involved in the interactions and duties of the staff of the Sheriff Office within the communities and with surrounding emergency service agencies. I will also use a developed ideal of leadership, incorporating interactions and visibility with an non-biased and limited fluctuating form of expectations in duties within the office.
Q. What motivates your desire to be Atchison County Sheriff?
A. My motivations come from years of working to make a difference for the citizens of Atchison County. I continually try to show an impartial and respectful way of protecting citizens while still conducting my duties in upholding the law. My attempts have always fallen short due to leadership and while still developing good relationships with a majority of the citizens and my fellow first responders, this is my ability to make a to be the leader I feel the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office needs and deserves.
Q. Do you have any plans to improve or remedy law enforcement and public safety concerns in Atchison County?
A. I do have plans to both remedy and improve these concerns. I already had established lines of communication and relationships with local and surrounding law enforcement and have maintained those lines to have them functional upon taking the office. I will also encourage interaction and investment between the public and the Sheriff’s Office staff, to develop a better and more effective form of understanding and respect.
Q. What’s your personal background like family, schools attended and ties to the community that you would like to share?
A. I grew up the eldest son of Dan Potts, in the rural Lancaster area of Atchison County. I attended the USD 377 Atchison County School District. Through high school and college, I worked for my father’s business, Potts Backhoe & Trenching, which provided services throughout Atchison County. I developed knowledge of the geographical aspects of Atchison County and started establishing communal connects with the citizens of the county. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Criminology with a minor in Anthropology from Kansas State University in 2004, and a Full-Time Law Enforcement Certification from Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, University of Kansas in 2005. I enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard (KSANG) in 2006, becoming and officer and helicopter pilot, deploying to Iraq in 2010 and leading troops in a MEDEVAC mission. I served as a company commander for the KSANG’s Aviation battalion in Salina, and later as a coordinator and administrator for the KSANG’s marksmanship program out of the Joint Forces Headquarters in Topeka. I have been a lifelong resident of Atchison County and have been in law enforcement my entire eligible adulthood, with my only breaks being for military service.