Dodge County Sheriff Recounts Tense Standoff With Knife Wielding Suspect

(Dodge County) A police standoff is a tense situation, especially when an innocent person is in harm’s way. When the innocent involved is a baby, the dynamic of the situation is even more tense. Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt told us last week on WBEV’s Community Comment that it creates an urgency that needs to be tempered with restraint.  

“Unfortunately, we had people in the area that were egging us on to just end it quickly,” he says, “and you’ve got to be extra careful in these situations. Could you image if we rushed into this and something happened to that baby, the emotional impact involved, so we took our time.” 

Earlier this month, a police chase that started on Highway 151 in Fond du Lac County ended 14-miles later just south of Highway 49 in Dodge County with a nearly four-hour standoff.  The suspect was armed with a butcher’s knife and, at one point, held the baby in front of him.  

“So, we were patient, knowing that we had to be ready to respond and react at a moment’s notice,” he says, “It was a very high stress incident.” 

Both Fond du Lac and Dodge counties had their SWAT Teams on scene, under the direction of their respective sheriff’s. Schmidt maintained a bird’s eye view of the scene via camera-equipped drone helicopter. He credits the professionalism and training of the coordinated agencies along with the expertise of Fond du Lac County negotiators.  

“Negotiations went really, really well, our agencies just worked really well together,” Schmidt says, “Everything came together because of our well-trained staff, the patience, and the preparedness – to make a move if we needed to – but the patience to wait and get them out safely.” 

The child was not injured. The suspect, a 34-year-old Merrill man, is under the care of medical professionals.