Fellow citizens of Florence County,
In the past 25 years of serving you, I have met many people, yet we may not know much about each other. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about myself and explain why I am uniquely qualified to continue to serve you. I ask for your continued support in the upcoming election.
My private life
My wife Cindy and I are fortunate to have four adult children in our blended family.
Becky 1995 graduate of Port Washington High school is employed by Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee as a supply chain management engineer. A graduate of Milwaukee School of Engineering and Marquette University.
Gregory a 1999 graduate of Florence High school is married and living in Enterprise, Alabama. After a 15 year career as a certified broadcast engineer (which he started at WJNR-FM in Iron Mountain) he now works as a web engineer at WebDevStudios.
Geoffrey a 2001 graduate of Florence High school is married and living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he works as a driver for Schneider National. He is also a member of the National Guard Field Artillery Battery 1-121FA C, and has served in Afghanistan.
Adam a 2004 graduate of Florence High School and NWTC with a degree in Criminal Justice living in Homestead and working as a corrections officer at the Florence County Sheriff’s Department.
What I believe
Most importantly, my compass in life is my belief in God. I enjoy my relationship with Jesus Christ, it continues to provide me with strong direction and is a continuous reminder that I am here to serve you, not myself.
I’m a conservative person with a strong belief in personal rights guaranteed under our constitution. I have taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the State of Wisconsin and United States. As a reminder, a copy of our constitution has been in my briefcase and on my desk for the past 35 years of service.
The Office of Sheriff is a unique position, I am elected by you to perform several duties outlined in chapter 59 of Wisconsin Statutes. What does this mean? I work directly for you. As a result, I am on record opposing government restriction of our rights through administrative rules and regulation. My office is not an arm of the federal government. I strongly believe as law enforcement we play a vital role protecting the constitutional rights of individuals.
What I am doing now and plan to continue
Strengthen our community and schools
My commitment to our schools comes from the simple fact that our children are our future. They must have a safe environment in which to learn. I know the Florence School District has and will continue to produce top students able to compete anywhere. Just need to look at the graduates they have produced as evidence. The graduates are executives in major corporations, doctors and missionaries in foreign countries, not to mention the people who work right here in our area. Our own children have never failed as a result of the education they received right here in Florence County.
Our schools are the key to our future economic development. Families wanting to move to a safe community need to be sure their children will get the education they need. It is our responsibility to support the schools and the families they serve.
Work to keep Florence County a safe secure place for our families.
This includes a high level of security at our homes, schools and on our highways.
Work hard to keep taxes as low as possible.
Keeping taxes low is accomplished by continuing to bring in a revenue stream from grants and our jail/911 center. In the past 14 years of operation we have brought in over 2 million dollars in revenue from the jail alone, more than the original cost of the building. I also work hard with the county board to manage day to day costs of operations reflected in our balanced budget.
Emergency Medical Dispatching;
Several years ago I realized our large geographic area and rural nature was costing people their lives. Rural areas have lower survival rates when it comes to medical emergencies, this is common in all rural areas. In an effort to provide a higher level of service, all our 911 dispatchers have become certified medical dispatchers. They are trained to provide medical treatment to you over the phone while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. This program has had some very positive outcomes by allowing us to instruct people in CPR, use of EPI Pens to combat life threatening allergic reactions and how to stop bleeding wounds among many other medical emergencies. This program is managed with a quality assurance and improvement program for dispatchers. I personally review 911 calls to help oversee the program.
One of the most valuable assets I currently have is the established partnerships with local, state and federal agencies. The Niagara train bridge shooting is an example of team work on a very large scale. Initially no one knew exactly where this shooting happened. I quickly partnered with Marinette County and Dickinson County to protect you. Within a few hours our local agencies combined with state resources where able to contain and apprehend this dangerous man. These partnerships are based on trust, teamwork and working knowledge of each agencies capabilities.
Business and law enforcement may not seem all that connected, the opposite is true. You may think that our patrol work helps to keep your business safe. The fact is, how we apply the law within our community can greatly affect the business climate. Our worthless check program which I started nearly 25 years ago returns thousands of dollars each year back to local business owners. The smoking ban is a good example of our partnership with local business. We knew this law was changing and took the opportunity to meet with the restaurant and tavern owners to discuss the issue and develop a reasonable way to comply with the law that does not burden local business.
Reduce crime and recidivism
This area is probably the most difficult challenge we face. After running a jail for the past 14 years one thing is very clear. Jail is a revolving door with 68% of inmates returning within a 3 year period. This statistic fits our local jail and is the average for the United States. Jail is not a deterrent for many people and becomes a lifestyle. We need to stop the revolving door. I have spent the past several years holding inmates responsible for work, counseling and other programs that will help keep them from re-offending, out of jail and will help them become productive members of our community.
The most effective methods for preventing people from returning to jail is close supervision upon release from jail. Holding them to strict rules that if violated will immediately land them back in jail. Earlier i mentioned jail can be a lifestyle for some, but believe me being out of jail is much more desirable. We have formed a criminal justice steering committee consisting of over 20 members ranging from the Veterans hospital to the UW-college system to develop a structured system of close supervision and treatment of inmates released from the county jail or on pretrial diversion.
Strict rules are placed on offenders leaving jail, random drug and alcohol screening, mandatory job searches and required treatment for substance abuse are just a few of the requirements. I developed a county probation officer position at no additional cost to supervise deferred prosecution agreements out in the community to hold people acountable for their actions. We also use the latest GPS monitoring of work release inmates to track their travels for the purpose of work.
My position on the second amendment. I agree with our founding fathers. James Madison said “Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective way to enslave them.” Thomas Jefferson supports Madison’s position by stating “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
My position on Concealed carry in Wisconsin? I was one of only two Sheriff’s that attended the signing of the law. I again defer to our founding fathers, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”, Thomas Jefferson. We don’t need the Supreme Court of the Unitied States to tell us what the second amendment means, the people that wrote it already have. In the end, George Washington put it quite simply,“A free people ought…to be armed”.
I support and encourage the use of concealed carry in Wisconsin. I asked for and was able to have one of my deputies routinely teach concealed carry classes through our local college. The raw fact is that most police responses are too slow to protect you from an assault. It is your right to protect yourself and your family, we are here to help you clearly understand that responsibility so you may act with confidence and skill.
I little about me
I lived and worked for the first 33 years of my life in Ashwaubenon, a suburb of Green Bay, a block from Lambeau field. I was fortunate to be one of the kids with the opportunity to let Packer players ride their bike from the practice field to the locker room. One of my most valued memories from that time is an over-sized 1965 Packer postcard with 32 original Packer autographs of the team.
I once asked Ray Nitschke for some advice on playing football, I’ll never forget it when he bent over and looked at me (missing most of his teeth) and said “Kid, hit or be hit”, simple to the point. Looking back it was pretty nice for him to take the time to talk with me. My first paying job was selling popcorn at Lambeau field.
I was fortunate to have parents that took the time with me too. We spent a lot of time outdoors, my dad an avid fisherman had us out nearly every weekend. My enjoyment of the outdoors was enhanced by scouting. I spent many years at various levels of scouting obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in high school. My mom was a great cook and taught me a lot about the kitchen and gardening. I still enjoy both, having 3 vegetable gardens, my wife Cindy and I grow and preserve much of our own food.
Why did I come to Florence County?
To make a difference in a community with strong schools, conservative values and abundant outdoor opportunities. I had been visiting Florence County since 1974 and owned property here since 1979. My prior experience as a Public Safety Officer for the Village of Ashwaubenon gave me a unique understanding of emergency service. I was trained as a Fire fighter, Paramedic and Police Officer. When I was appointed Sheriff of Florence County by Governor Thompson in 1989, my prior experience was invaluable in managing police services and developing dispatching for rescue and fire services. I felt I could partner with you and make our community a safe and desirable place to live.
Why seek re-election?
The work ethic established by my parents has carried me along through my adult life. This is the reason I decided to seek re-election. I enjoy my work and feel I have much left to contribute to our community. I have continued to keep my education current and relevant. I have not done this work alone. I have a very dedicated and competent group of people to work with inside our office and in our community. I can not thank them enough for all their hard work.
Uniquely Qualified to serve you
My first hand knowledge of emergency services in police, fire and rescue services gives me a unique understanding of how things work and the regulations that surround them. I have personally written the grants that purchased our 911 system. I worked hand in hand with the engineers that designed our 911 system and architects that designed our jail. Most importantly, I have spent the last 25 years developing a system to meet the first goal I set, “To make Florence County a safe place for our families”.
Jeff Rickaby, Sheriff
Paid for by Jeff Rickaby