(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff recently discussed his department’s policy on gratuities. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says it is an ethical dilemma that law enforcement has been dealing with for years, which is: should law they accept free or discounted items simply because they are public servants?
Schmidt gives the example of a gas station or restaurant offering a free cup of coffee or soda when a deputy stops by or a discount on a meal or merchandise. He says if he accepts free gifts there could be the expectation that the individual offering the gift might expect services given in the return. Current policy dictates that the sheriff’s office will not accept gratuities that benefit an individual.
However, certain donations that benefit the community as a whole – such as donations to the K9 Unit or fundraisers for agency equipment – is less problematic Schmidt says because it benefits the public. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, Schmidt encouraged any business or individual wanting to donate something to the sheriff’s office should instead give to people who need it.
Schmidt says there are a lot of people right now struggling to pay their bills and that he is not one of them. He says any recent gifts or food the sheriff’s office receives will be given to a several area families that lost their homes to fires. Schmidt says the sheriff’s office truly does appreciate those who want to donate food or gift cards as a way to say thank you. He adds that it is their honor to work for the citizens of Dodge County and the kind gestures truly means a lot.