Southeast Kansas sheriff suspended from office

Southeast Kansas sheriff suspended from office
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Montgomery County Sheriff Robert Dierks is suspended without pay until the outcome of a criminal case. He’s accused of interfering with the arrest of his girlfriend and trying to interfere with a witness.

The court issued an order of suspension for Dierks this morning, March 29th, 2019. Undersheriff Richard George will serve as acting sheriff.

The motion for suspension states that Dierks has agreed not to contest his suspension from the Sheriff’s Office. Dierks will not be paid during the suspension, but will continue to receive health insurance benefits for himself and his dependents.

Prosecutors filed the following charges against Dierks:
1) Interference with LEO; Obstruction/Attempt to Obstruct
2) Intimidation of a witness; Attempt to Prevent or Dissuade

In January of 2018, Sheriff Dierks’ then-girlfriend, Valerie Smith, was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. She was pulled over in the county by Deputy Hurst.

The night of the arrest, Sheriff Dierks allegedly tried to get Deputy Hurst to change his mind about taking her to jail. According to court documents, Dierks was requesting deputies “look the other way”.

Authorities say Smith was allowed to leave the jail on an “Own Recognizance” type bond authorized by Sheriff Dierks.

Following the arrest, Sheriff Dierks allegedly made several attempts to keep Deputy Hurst from attending Smith’s Driver’s License hearing.

After the hearing was continued, Deputy Hurst was subpoenaed to the Driver’s License hearing for Smith, and he testified. Smith lost her license.

Undersheriff Richard George was made aware of the arrest and gave a message to officers who were on the traffic stop with Smith to “treat it no differently than any other DUI investigation,” according to documents.

On December 18th, 2018, Sheriff Dierks was interviewed about the case. He said he used to date Smith but that he is not any longer. Documents state, “Sheriff Dierks said that he dated her for approximately 2 years but that she broke up with him because she said he ruined her life by not helping her get out of a DUI.”

During his interview with investigators, Sheriff Dierks said that he did not instruct his deputy not to arrest Smith and never told the deputies or insinuated that Smith should not be arrested.

Sheriff Dierks claimed that if he had known that it was her second DUI, he may not have let her out on the “Own Recognizance” bond. He stated that an “OR bond” is common practice and that Smith did not receive special treatment.

According to documents, when asked if Sheriff Dierks ever told the arresting deputies that it would be nice if they did not show up for Smith’s driver’s license administrative hearing because he did not want to drive Smith and her kids around everywhere if she lost her license, Dierks “admitted to saying that but said that he did not tell the deputies not to honor the subpoena or pressure them to not go in any way.”

“Sheriff Dierks said that he did not pressure any of the deputies involved and that he respects each one of them for what they had to do,” according to court documents.

Special prosecutor J. Todd Hiatt, a Shawnee County prosecutor, was appointed by Montgomery County attorney Larry Markle to investigate the case against Dierks.

The attorney for Dierks entered a not guilty plea on Dierks’ behalf.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office: “Per court order, Undersheriff Richard George has been sworn in temporarily to the position of Montgomery County Sheriff, following the suspension of Sheriff Robert Dierks. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will continue to do our best to protect and serve the citizens of Montgomery County.”

Court Documents (Probable Cause):