Security, vigilance come with big price tag

by Brian Hoffmann
Sheboygan County Board Member

I have been asked to continue examining “What we get for our County Tax Dollars?”.  In my first article I wrote about one of the divisions of the Health and Human Services Department.  My plan is to continue to write about the various departments and divisions within Sheboygan County Government.

Today I want to take a look at the Sheriff’s Department.  It is currently the second largest budget of all Sheboygan County departments, spending over $23 million for 2022, compared to the Health and Human Services Department that has a budget of nearly $41 million.  Of that, $8.8 million is spent in our Corrections Division to house inmates.  

This includes everything from wages, benefits, upkeep of the buildings, and inmates’ meals which daily cost for 3 meals is $5.60.  The average daily capacity of inmates was around 320 before COVID, and has dropped too approximately 240 after several COVID mitigation protocols were instituted. The maximum capacity of the jail is approximately 330.  

n addition to the incarcerated individuals, the Sherriff’s office has over 400 individuals out on electronic monitoring or day reporting. Sheboygan County also has its own Juvenile Detention, that can house up to 27 juveniles.  

The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for providing law enforcement to all 15 townships and 9 villages. The Sheriff’s office also contracts with 8 of these municipalities for extra services.  

There are over 518 square miles and 1765 miles of roadway to patrol.  In addition to the roadways, they are also responsible for 400 square miles of Lake Michigan.  The county jurisdiction extends 26 miles out into the Lake Michigan and is patrolled by a Sheboygan County Sherriff’s boat.  

The Sheriff’s department has jurisdiction over all Sheboygan County inland lakes.  The county also has members on a joint city dive team. 

The Sheriff’s office has 8 deputies assigned to the courthouse for security each day of the week. The Sherriff’s department it has 22 marked squads with 2 dedicated for K-9 units. There are 6 different shifts due to having to cover shifts during shift changes. 

There are between 5 and 8 deputies covering the county at any given time.  One interesting and specialized vehicle used by the SWAT Team is a Bearcat Armored Tactical Vehicle which was purchased in 2016. The Bearcat is designed to protect the lives of victims, officers, the public, and even suspects.  This vehicle has been put to good use over the course of time that it has been in service in Sheboygan County. 

The county has averaged around 10 traffic fatalities a year over the past several years. The department also has a accident reconstruction team. 

The Sheriff’s Department has seen over the past several years a dramatic increase in drug overdoses each year. The average is approximately 15 each year and continues to grow.  

Other services provided by the Sheriff Department includes: Honor Guard for special events, and a Hostage Negotiation team.

The Sheriff is an elected position, serving a 4-year term.  The next election for the position is in November of 2022.  I am appreciative for Sheriff Cory Roessler assistance in writing this article.  

The Sheriff’s Department does indeed“protect and serve.”

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