NESS CITY — The county clerk has taken over the Ness County Sheriff's Office after the resignations of its undersheriff, three deputies and a dispatcher.

Ness County Clerk Renee Kerr said in a statement Tuesday that the assumption of the sheriff's office duties was made after the resignations on Tuesday of Undersheriff William Sutton, dispatcher Rashel Hagans and Deputies Cole Stoecklein, Jonathan Rahae and Jim Lutters.

Kerr said in the statement the deputies who resigned represent a "majority of the deputies" in Ness County, about 182 miles northwest of Wichita.

"An emergency declaration has been signed and mutual aid is forthcoming," Kerr said in the statement. "We are focusing on county business and moving forward."

Kerr said she has named Brandon Mitchell, a Republican candidate for sheriff, as undersheriff, and Travis Rothe as a deputy.

It's not clear what prompted the resignations.

But they follow the resignation of Sheriff Bryan Whipple in late October, after he pleaded guilty in federal court of knowingly selling a .45 caliber pistol and ammunition to a man he knew was a convicted felon.