(Dodge County) Both candidates for Dodge County Sheriff were asked what they would to address school safety during Wednesday night’s debate. A Beaver Dam Middle School student in attendance at the debate questioned both incumbent Sheriff Dale Schmidt and his challenger Lt. Jim Ketchem about their plans if elected. Schmidt says under his administration a great deal of focus has been placed on making schools a safe place for students. He says recently the Judicial and Public Protection Committee authorized the sheriff’s office to request from the county board a school resource officer for schools that do not have one currently. Schmidt says there have been great conversations with the school safety committee, emergency management director and school administrators on how to address safety concerns.
Ketchem says he will ensure that his staff would be trained on how to best handle an active shooter incident but also used the opportunity to question how serious his opponent is about school safety. Ketchem says an open records request for the school resource officer meetings indicates that Schmidt has not attended a meeting since January 2017. Ketchem says email records also indicate that Schmidt stated he does not need to be invited to the meetings and would have someone else attend on his behalf.
In the wake of recent events, the Wisconsin Department of Justice set aside $100-million for their School Safety Grant program for improving school security. So far, multiple Dodge County schools have been awarded funds from the grant program. The partisan election is on Tuesday, August 14.
Watch the debate here: