Rice County Sheriff's Department staffing issues after shooting

LYONS, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Rice County Sheriff’s Department was left with staffing issues Tuesday in Lyons after a standoff where their sheriff and under sheriff were shot.

Rice County officials said two were shot, two were pulled from duty to deal with administration paperwork on the standoff, and one is in training school only leaving two deputies to patrol the entire county.

“It’s short, very short, yes,” said Alicia Showalter, Rice County clerk in reference to their staffing.

The two deputies have to cover 728 square miles and a population of nearly 10,000.

““The whole ordeal is just scary,” Showalter said.

However, according to Showalter, other counties sheriff’s departments have made it easier for them by offering their assistance.

“Pawnee County, Stafford County, Barton County, Sedgwick County, Reno County,” she said. “There is a lot of counties that have offered assistance as far as deputies.”

She said just last night they received help from Barton County in the north half of Rice County, and Reno County in the south half.

“We just have to call them and they will have bodies,” Showalter said.

One resident of Rice County said he visits the jail often for bible studies, and knows the people that work there. Including the two officers that were shot.

According to him, regardless of only two deputies patrolling the county, the help makes him feel safer.

“I feel good about it and I feel protected,” William Best said. “I know the integrity of these guys that do this work.”

Showalter said she wants to ensure citizens that their protection is a priority.

“There is the manpower there,” she said. “Whether it be local law enforcement officers or from surrounding counties, but there is the law enforcement there to help keep the community safe.”

The sheriff has been treated and released from the hospital, but there is no word on when he will return to work. The under sheriff is still in the hospital and Showalter said she unsure on when the other deputies will return to work, so for now they will continue to use assistance from the other counties.