Ken Van Blaricum was appointed as Pratt County attorney in 2006 and elected in 2008. He also served an earlier term, from 1977 to 1981, and has filed for re-election as a Republican.


Ken Van Blaricum was appointed as Pratt County attorney in 2006 and elected in 2008. He also served an earlier term, from 1977 to 1981, and has filed for re-election as a Republican.

“I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot, modernized the office quite a bit,” Van Blaricum said. “I’d like to serve another four years.”

He embraced technology that he said has brought a courtroom built in the 1800s into the 21st century and added software in the office that makes it “about as technologically advanced as any office in the state, I would guess.”

From his desk, he can connect with the clerk of the district court, perform a driver’s license or criminal records search, and file a complaint or other pleadings by typing in a few lines of information.

The courtroom features a nice sound system and a flat screen TV monitor that allow the jury to hear clearly and to see everything that is shown to a witness.

Also the attorney for the City of Pratt, Van Blaricum worked with Chief Gary Myers to install video cameras in police cars.

“It makes my work more accurate; makes it easier to prosecute the offender if we have really good digital recordings,” Van Blaricum said. “It’s good for the city, good for the county and good for the offender.”

He also cites a more professional diversion program as an accomplishment. A program was in place when he took office, but he has worked to clarify the process of who qualifies and who doesn’t and procedures for implementation.

“It has greatly reduced any chance of internal accounting mistakes,” he commented.

With a budget reduction of about 29 percent for the Kansas Department of Corrections over the last three years, fewer slots are available in prisons, and incarceration is expensive.

“We have to try to rehabilitate offenders right here in Pratt,” Van Blaricum said. “We have a number of programs in place to straighten someone out. It’s a less expensive way of handling things and it seems to work fairly well. People really do learn to control their temper and if they’re drinking, to stay home.

“I’m very proud of our community corrections,” he said. “People get a second chance to straighten their lives out by means of intensive supervision.”

Vigorous prosecution of drug and alcohol offenses will continue to be a priority. Laws pertaining to driving under the influence have changed, making prosecution easier and streets safer, Van Blaricum said.

An attorney since 1970, Van Blaricum moved to Pratt in 1975, following five years of practice in Wichita. He and wife Annette, a retired kindergarten teacher for USD 382, have two sons. Mark, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Jay, Overland Park, are both attorneys. In addition to his duties as county and city attorney, Van Blaricum does a small amount of private practice and is on the Board of Trustees for Pratt Community College.