Meet the Candidates – Lincoln County Sheriff
Incumbent Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger is not seeking re-election, having announced his impending retirement earlier this year. Candidates Ken Schneider and Pete Borchardt, both running as Republicans, faced off in the August partisan primary with Schneider coming out on top by a 2,864 to 2,422 vote margin. Following the primary, Borchardt announced he would continue his campaign as a declared write-in candidate. We asked the candidates to introduce themselves by filling out a questionnaire and making some comments about themselves and their views. Their answers follow.
Ken Schneider – Republican
Residence: Merrill. Age: 54. Family: children, Sarah, Melissa, Ethan, Joshua; three grandchildren. Education: Merrill High School, Police Science NTC, Police Supervision School-Northwestern University, FBI LEEDA, Rural SWAT, Firearms Instructor, Taser Instructor, ALICE Instructor. Employment: Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, 28 years. Involvement: Lincoln County Sheriff Professional Supervisors Association; Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Board.
Comments: “With 28 years of experience at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office I am prepared to provide professional law enforcement services to the citizens of Lincoln County while continuously applying cost-saving measures. I have the necessary training, education, passion and supervisory experience required for this position.
“I was born and raised here on a dairy farm and graduated from Merrill High School in 1982. I graduated from Northcentral Technical College with an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and in 1990 I joined the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Officer. In 1993 I became a Patrol Deputy and prior to the E911 Communications center I also dispatched.
“In 1999 I was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. I attended Supervision of Police Personnel School at Northwestern University and the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Program to further my abilities to lead.
“I have enjoyed being a training officer not just to employees here at the Sheriff’s Office but also to members of the public. I was a Firearms Instructor and Taser Instructor and am currently an ALICE Instructor (civilian response to an active shooter). I am passionate about educating and training the public to properly react in active shooter situations, this training saves lives.
“I was a member of the Special Response Team for many years. I became the Team Leader and eventually the Team Commander. I know firsthand the responsibility and pressures of being in command of a critical incident. I am proud to have brought peaceful resolutions to countless incidents under my command.
“I have worked creating and responsibly managing the Firearms, SRT, Taser, Recreation Officer, and Patrol Budgets over the last 18 years. I understand fiscal responsibility and have a proven track record of responsible budget management.
“I supervise the Court Security Officer Position. I was a member of the team that created the security operating procedures used to keep our courthouse safe.
“I currently serve as the senior Patrol Lieutenant and have also supervised the E911 Telecommunications Division and the Detective Bureau.
“I have a plan to move the Sheriff’s Office forward. That plan starts by me meeting with every employee here and listening to what their thoughts, ideas, complaints and visions are for this agency. I firmly believe in leadership and teamwork and need the input of the public and the agency to be an effective leader. I have earned the respect and support of this agency. I hope I have earned yours too. I am asking for your vote on November 6th.”
Pete Borchardt- Republican (Write-In Candidate)
Residence: Merrill. Age: 44. Family: Wife, Marci; Mason (14), Matthew (22), Macy (24), Marissa (27); Granddaughter Aubrie (4). Education: Merrill High School graduate, Class of 1993; North Central Technical College Police Recruit Academy, graduated 1996; UW-Stevens Point, Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, graduated 1997; Law Enforcement training and education. Some of the most notable: Special Supervisory training, “Leadership in Police Organizations,” (3 weeks of training); Advanced Interview Training for Law Enforcement Investigator’s, Dept. of Homeland Security FBI; Investigator’s Academy Training; Death Investigation, Division of Criminal Investigation; Drug Investigation, Division of Criminal Investigation; Drug Abuse Resistance Education Instructor. Employment: Laborer, Merrill Gravel & Construction 1993-1998 (summers); Police Officer, Village of Athens 1997-1999; Police Dispatcher, City of Merrill Police Department 1998-1999; Police Officer, City of Merrill Police Department 1999-present; Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer, City of Merrill PD 2004-2012; Also served as Merrill Professional Police Association Union President, and Merrill Police Benevolent Association President. Involvement: Merrill PD, President of Merrill Professional Police Association (Police Union) and President of our Police Dept Benevolent Assn.; Currently belong to Merrill Lion’s Club, Merrill Historical Society, Merrill Golf Booster Club, Merrill Silver M Club, Vice President of Faith Lutheran Church, Social & Sick Benefit Society; Former member Merrill Optimist Club, Law Enforcement Torch Run Board member and organizer.
Comments: “Lincoln County Residents,
“Change doesn’t always come easy but is often necessary. Lincoln County needs a Sheriff willing to adjust and make difficult decisions for the good of the people, even if those decisions are unpopular.
“The Sheriff’s Office began implementing a take-home squad program in 2015. Prior to take-home squads (2014), the total insured Fleet Inventory was $629,763. Since then, the total has nearly doubled increasing the value to $1,199,927 – a difference of just over ½ million dollars. PLEASE NOTE: this financial information was provided by the County Clerk and County Finance Director.
“My opponent has publicly stated he will not change this program. Folks, right now the Chief Deputy takes a Dodge Ram truck squad home every day and he lives east of Antigo. His fuel bill alone is approximately $5,000 per year. These are your tax dollars folks and just one example of an employment perk shouldered by you. I will evaluate all facets of the Sheriff’s Office to find ways to better serve you by stressing efficiency and accountability.
“Teaming up with Tomahawk and Merrill Police Departments; I will focus on decreasing Lincoln County’s illegal drug problems. The use of methamphetamine and heroin in Lincoln County is alarming! These street drugs are ruining people’s lives, and we need to tackle it head on.
“Retired Merrill Chief of Police Ken Neff and current Chief Corey Bennett both endorse me in this Sheriff’s election. I already have a good relationship with Tomahawk Chief of Police Al Elvins and his staff.
“Both Sheriff candidates have a long list of qualifications, but only one has an inside working knowledge of the Sheriff’s Office and an outside perspective. Captain Dale Bacher, my direct supervisor and a life-long friend of my opponent, recently complimented me on my performance throughout this stressful lengthy election. He said that he has no doubt I will work hard to be the best Sheriff Lincoln County has ever had if elected. It would be my honor to have your vote on November 6th and have the privilege to serve as your Sheriff.”