Wyandotte Co. prosecutor praises sheriff for investigating one of their own accused of ‘great dishonor’

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Wyandotte County district attorney and Wyandotte County sheriff held a news conference Friday morning to explain the case against a now-former deputy.

Prosecutor Mark A. Dupree and Sheriff Don Ash believe Jay Pennington is guilty of official misconduct, making false information, forgery and theft and filed four felony charges against Pennington on Thursday.

Jay Pennington's booking photo.

Pennington, 38, was a deputy with Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office and a team leader for the Offender Registration Unit when he allegedly committed the crimes.

The sheriff says that the investigation began about four weeks ago when a fraudulent receipt was discovered that wasn't printed from the correct printer and appeared to come from a template.

Ash said when an offender pays a fee, they are given an official receipt. Dupree alleges Pennington did not put the fee in the sheriff's coffer and gave the offender a fraudulent receipt so he could take the money himself.

Three deputies and one civilian clerk are assigned to the office, with Pennington being the office leader. Ash and Dupree say they investigated other employees in the Offender Registration Unit and found the alleged theft was isolated to Pennington. They would not say how much money he's accused of stealing.

Pennington was fired and subsequently arrested. He was released from jail on Thursday after posting $20,000 bond.

Dupree complimented the Sheriff Ash and his department for their 'outstanding job investigating the situation.'

Prosecutor Mark Dupree and Don Ash during a news conference on the Wyandotte County deputy facing 4 felony charges.

"There has been great detail and thoroughness in the investigation on behalf of the sheriff's department and my office to make sure no one else is involved in this situation and that no other person is victimized concerning what this deputy has done while wearing this uniform. We take it serious that no crime will go unpunished regardless who commits it. And I appreciate the fact that the sheriff is the one who stood firmly and brought it to my office and wanted to make sure that no one in his department is committing any type of crime while wearing the uniform," Dupree said.

"It does those who wear the uniform, and with integrity, who puts their lives on the line daily, it does them great dishonor. It is indeed fortunate to know that we are amongst people who are not afraid to deal with crime wherever it is," said Dupree.

Pennington had been in his position in the Offender Registration Unit since January of 2016. He first started working for the department in 2003-2008. He left, but was rehired in 2013.