Dean Akings of Great Bend is willing to turn in his police badge for a seat on the Barton County Commission.
Akings, who has been Great Bend’s police chief since 1983, has announced he is seeking the position of District 5 county commissioner. This district extends approximately from Polk Street in Great Bend west to Dundee.
“I have been in public service since I volunteered to join the military and want to continue to make a difference,” Akings said. “If I am fortunate enough to join the county commission, I will resign as police chief.”
Akings said his decades of experience in city government would help with the transition. His city experience includes serving the Great Bend Police Department as a patrol officer, investigator and chief.
He also served as assistant city administrator and later as acting city administrator, in the wake of the 1981 flood.
“City and county governments are similar, and many of the departments perform the same functions,” Akings noted. “My years at the police department and City Building allow me to be familiar with this type of management.
“For example,” he said, “the police department has a $2.5 million annual budget and I have never, ever overspent. We have to make do with what we have, and prioritize wants and needs. Being a good steward of tax dollars is a job I take seriously.”
Akings noted he still enjoys being police chief but is open to the commission as a new opportunity to serve citizens in a different way.
The candidate was raised in Galatia and Hoisington. He has been in Great Bend for 38 years and is a lifelong Republican.
“I have worked with the good people of Barton County over the years, and am proud of the lifestyle and values we share,” he said. “I want to be a positive force as part of the team serving Barton County.”
He and his wife, Lily, have been married for 49 years. She also has been a public servant for 37 years; she is director of the Barton County Health Department. Their children, Randall and Melissa, live in Lenexa.
Akings is a Hoisington High School graduate and has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Barton Community College; he earned a bachelor’s in sociology at Fort Hays State University.
In addition, he graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center at Hutchinson and FBI Academy at Quantico, Va.
In 1968, Akings joined the U.S. Navy Seabees and served two years before being honorably discharged. He also served in the Army Reserves.
As police chief, Akings initiated several programs including Crime Stoppers, and D.A.R.E and other drug-education efforts. He is a key member of the America’s Promise youth program, served on the Community Corrections Advisory Board and is a lifelong blood donor.
At the state level, Akings has served on committees under four governors and as president of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police.
Memberships include Trinity Lutheran Church, Kansas Peace Officers Association, FBI National Academy, Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“I have always been a public servant and continue to get satisfaction from it,” Akings said. “I like working with the public and would be available to them 24/7 as a county commissioner.”
If another Republican files for the District 5 seat, the primary election would be in August. The general election is in November.