South Dakota becomes 26th state to pass the Kelsey Smith Act

Greg and Missey Smith, the parents of Kelsey Smith, were present when the South Dakota governor signed the Kelsey Smith Act into law on March 4. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Smith Foundation

South Dakota becomes 26th state to pass the Kelsey Smith Act

Greg and Missey Smith, the Overland Park parents of Kelsey Smith, were in attendance last week when South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed House Bill 1129, The Kelsey Smith Act. Rep. Dayle Hammock of Spearfish was the primary sponsor of the bill.

The Kelsey Smith Act provides law enforcement with a way to quickly find the location of a wireless telecommunications device if law enforcement has determined a person is at risk of death or serious physical harm due to being kidnapped and/or missing. The Smiths have pushed for this legislation across all United States after the murder of their daughter, Kelsey Smith, who was abducted in broad daylight from an Overland Park department store and murdered on June 2, 2007.

The abduction was captured on the store’s security camera leaving little doubt of the emergency nature of the circumstances. Four days after she disappeared, authorities were able to locate Kelsey’s body after her wireless provider released the “ping” or “call location” information from her cell phone. Providing this information as fast as possible is critical to ensure law enforcement officials can rescue victims in imminent danger of serious harm or death.

Johnson County’s chief counsel Don Jarrett completes 35-year career

Don Jarrett, chief counsel and director of legal services, will finish 35 years of service to Johnson County Government with his retirement on March 20. The selection process for hiring a new chief counsel is underway. Cindy Dunham, deputy director of Legal Services, will become the interim chief counsel/director of legal services on March 21 until the position is filled.

Following graduation from KU School of Law, Johnson County Government was Jarrett’s second employer, having come from the firm of Bennett, Lytle, Wetzler, Winn and Martin in 1985.

“Don Jarrett’s 35 years of service to Johnson County has been outstanding,” said Ed Eilert, Chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. “His knowledge of state law affecting local government is extraordinary. Don’s advice regarding the county’s legal issues was always direct and well considered. His strong commitment to Johnson County will be missed. We wish him the best for whatever his future holds.”

Jarrett summed up his commitment to the position, saying, “I enjoy the work and have a deep, abiding belief in local government and that we help people every day.”