Veteran employee of Johnson County Emergency Management & Communications named its new director


JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS (March 25, 2016) Ellen Wernicke has been named Director of Johnson County Emergency Management & Communications. Wernicke has served as interim director since the previous director, Walt Way, retired in October 2015.

Wernicke joined what was then the Johnson County Emergency Communications department in 1998 and except for a brief period in 2000 has been with the department for 18 years. She began as an emergency communication specialist, became an operations supervisor in 2003, and then was named deputy director in 2006. Wernicke served in that role until becoming interim director last fall. 

In addition to her position with the county, Wernicke serves on many councils and committees dedicated to improving public safety operations, specifically the region’s 911 system, both on a regional and state level.  She was appointed by Governor Brownback in September 2015 to the State of Kansas 911 coordinating council representing one of two counties with populations over 75,000.  She also serves on the 911 coordinating council’s operations committee which is comprised of subject matter experts on public safety operations and administration. 

Wernicke chairs the State of Kansas 911 Training sub-committee which is working on the development and implementation of statewide training standards for public safety telecommunicators.  She represents the Mid-America Regional Council on the Kansas Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee and is currently the co-chair of the Metropolitan Area Regional Radio System (MARRS) technical committee representing Kansas. 

“Ellen has earned the respect of the public safety community and has been welcomed into this role by her peers,” said Maury Thompson, Assistant County Manager, who oversees EMC. “Her dedication to the mission of EMC and Johnson County is most appreciated.”

About Johnson County, Kansas

Located in the southwestern quadrant of the Kansas City Metropolitan Region, Johnson County, Kansas is a community of choice with a current population of more than 580,000, making it the most populated of the 105 counties in Kansas, but traditionally having the lowest mill levy in the state. For more information visit the county’s website at