(Beaver Dam) The second of two debates in the contested race for Dodge County Sheriff was held last night at the Beaver Dam Veteran’s Center. Before a packed house, incumbent Sheriff Dale Schmidt and challenger Lt. Jim Ketchem fielded questions from the media, each other and the community. Topics ranged from school safety, the county’s relationship with Immigration Customs and Enforcement as well as promotion practices.
Ketchem was asked by Schmidt why he has not attended a leadership training program that could address the many complaints he has levied against the sheriff’s office. Ketchem says there were other leadership trainings he has attended include Command College at Fox Valley Tech as well as the FBI Regional College. Ketchem says the training programs are not cost effective and are too much of a burden on tax payers. Schmidt says these programs often provide other state benefits that offset costs and noted that it is important to have uniformity when it comes to the leadership structure at the sheriff’s office. Schmidt says the state has provided discounts to the sheriff’s office on other trainings because of their participation and collaboration on varying training programs.
Meanwhile, Schmidt defended his clearance rate and says the current rate for robberies is at 25-percent and not at 14-percent as it was mentioned during the last debate. He says that number is a good average but can always use improving. Schmidt also noted that the same rate under Sheriff Todd Nehls was at seven-percent. He added that crimes against property sit at 30-percent and that the theft clearance rate has gone up in recent years. Ketchem says since Schmidt took office his clearance rate has gone down when compared to year’s past. In comparing 2015 through 2017 under Schmidt to 2013 through 2014 under Pat Ninmann, Ketchem says rape has gone down 19-percent and aggravated assault is down 18-percent.
The primary election will be next August 14 and, barring a write in campaign, will determine the next Dodge County Sheriff.
Watch the debate here: