Special to The Gardner News
Calvin Hayden was sworn in as the new Johnson County Sheriff on Jan. 9, 2017. He has been in law enforcement for 30 years – 28 of those with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. He also served a four-year term as the elected county commissioner from the Sixth District.
Hayden has served on a number of boards and committees, including the Consolidated Rural Water District #6, the Northwest Consolidated Fire Department, the Northwest Consolidated Zoning Board, and is currently serving on the board of directors for Rural Water District #7.
His civic experience includes the American Legion, the Olathe Rotary, the De Soto Masonic Lodge, De Soto Youth Baseball, and the Chambers of Commerce of Gardner/Edgerton, Olathe, and De Soto.
In 2016, Hayden won a three candidate race for Sheriff in the Republican primary and ran unopposed in the general election. Former Sheriff Frank Denning retired.
Asked how it feels to be duly elected sheriff, Hayden had a one word answer, “Busy.” Then he says with a laugh, “I feel busy!”
Hayden said that his number one priority right now is to hire more deputies. He said the department is allotted 500 officers but is currently about 60 short of that.
“It leaves us with a tremendous overtime budget; it hurts the county budget, and it’s hard on our officers, so I really want to get those holes filled as soon as possible,” said Hayden.
“Relationships are going to be a priority, too. We need to have good working relationships with our citizens and be supportive of them. Anything we do, the first question we’re going to ask is if it’s best for the community. If it’s not, we’re not going to do it,” said Hayden.
Hayden grew up in DeSoto and as a youth, admired the professionalism of the deputies that served as the community’s primary law enforcement.. He said he decided his goal would be to become a Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy.
He began his law enforcement career with the Summit County Sheriff’s office in Colorado. He served two years there before joining the Johnson County Sherriff’s department as a deputy.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1987 then to lieutenant in 1997.
In his career, he has served as an undercover officer with the City County Investigative Squad, a uniformed patrol officer, a dispatcher, and a firearms instructor/armorer.
Hayden credits longtime Sheriff Fred Allenbrand as an inspiration when he started thinking about being sheriff.
“He was a great mentor and just a good man – talk about role models in life. I enjoyed working for him and liked the way he handled himself,” Hayden said.
Hayden has five children, all grown and out of the house. Now it’s just him and his wife living on their 33 acre rural Gardner property, where they tend to a few cattle (nine head presently), he said.
Asked about hobbies, he said he was a car guy.
In his spare time, he usually has a car restoration project underway. Currently, that’s a 1974 Corvette.
“I’ve got an old Corvette. Rebuilt the engine in it, just got it painted, and it’s just about done… just… not quite,” he said.
Hayden takes office as sheriff