Dozens of Kansas sheriffs, including Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan, are asking Governor Laura Kelly to take action amid what law-enforcement personnel are characterizing as ‘crisis-level’ conditions at Larned State Hospital.
In a letter issued this week, the law-enforcement professionals alleged that the hospital “resists the admission of patients” and asks for a change of leadership at the facility. They also noted that hospital staff waited five hours to notify authorities last June when a violent convict escaped from the facility last summer.
The letter reads in part:
“The anecdotal evidence could fill volumes. Almost every law enforcement agency in Western Kansas continues to have problems with services at the state hospital. As Sheriffs, we understand issues concerning staffing and Covid 19 related problems. We are faced with the same issues every day in our county jails. That said, we will continue to do our job. Larned State Hospital must also. Interpretation of policies and procedure begins at the top. There appears to be a culture at the state hospital that resists the admission of patients. Further, we have found these issues are exasperated on weekends. Leadership and accountability are key to the culture of any organization. Under the current regime at the Larned State Hospital, it is our opinion that the public is in danger and there is a continued disservice to those who are mentally ill. Therefore, we must firmly insist on a change of leadership at the administrative level at Larned State Hospital.”
The document was signed by 59 sheriffs from across Kansas.