No fireworks as consultant gives sheriff's department study

Dodge County Administration Building

JUNEAU -- If some Dodge County Board of Supervisors were expecting any surprises Tuesday night they may be waiting a long time.

Richard Brady delivered his consulting firm's final report on the operational and financial review of the Dodge County Sheriff's Office and it showed no obvious irregularities.

Following the meeting, Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said he agreed with many of the report's findings, such as possibly moving from eight-hour shifts to 12 for patrol deputies and correctional officers. The change would not require any additional cost to the county.

Schmidt said his deputies and correctional officers all currently work 37 1/2 hour work weeks. He said the amount of hours they work in a year's time is 1,950 and not 2,080 as county supervisor David Guckenberger of Ashippun eluded to Tuesday.

Guckenberger questioned it and said the switch could add up to 13,000 hours of overtime, but Schmidt said it wasn't true.

"There would be an increase in the amount of hours by switching them to a 12-hour work shift and getting them to a 40-hour work week," Schmidt said. "There are a number of different ways that you can formulate a 12-hour shift schedule that does not create overtime."

Schmidt said when Brady and the Matrix Consulting Group said he should evaluate the possibility of implementing a 12-hour shift schedule in the jail he said it is something he has been looking at for two years.

"We have a number of correctional officers who are already on that 12-hour shift that are testing it right now in the jail," Schmidt said. "We did not move on it because we want to be considerate of the correctional officers' wishes. We wanted to test it and see if it would work with their schedules. We are still evaluating that and before we make any changes we need to talk with our staff."

The review also highlighted an inadequate level of supervision in the jail. Matrix Consulting Group recommended adding four sergeant positions in order to ensure operations are effectively managed and running smoothly.

Schmidt agreed.

"I have known for a long time that we have been short on sergeants for the jail," Schmidt said. "We've known that their workload has been heavy. The recommendations are very consistent with what we already knew but we did not bring up the issue to the county board because of the opposition to increasing staffing levels in the jail."

Schmidt also said adding a deputy secretary would be beneficial for those sergeants in the jail to help alleviate their workload so they can spend more time supervising and training than spending time in their offices.

When asked if he agreed with the Matrix Consulting Group in modifying his current task force agreement to one similarly used in Jefferson County, Schmidt said he brought the contract to Matrix for their review.

"It's simply a cost allocation between their sheriff's office and their municipalities," Schmidt said. "It has nothing to do with the way their drug task force is run. It is simply how many staff are assigned to it and how many hours based on that municipality's size are individuals from that municipality are allowed to work on that task force."

Schmidt said he agreed with Brady on reconstructing what is known as the Dodge County Drug Task Force.

"As long as the drug task force has been in place it has been more of a liaison-type task force and the other agencies worked with us," Schmidt said. "It's something that doesn't work real well. It's something we wanted to evaluate and find a different way of going about it. We need to find a new way to coordinate and work together."

Schmidt said having a drug task force with smaller cities comes down to finances.

"These smaller agencies don't have the dollars to spend on a full-time person to assign on a regular basis to the task force," he said. "I am still having discussions with some of the chiefs on formulating a new agreement."

Schmidt said Matrix has done a "good job" evaluating the sheriff's office.

"It has confirmed a lot of what we have been bringing to the county board and to the county board's committees," Schmidt said. "I think we can move forward with a lot of the initiatives we want to get done such as filling a lot of the positions that need to be filled. I think we can use this study to better the law enforcement services in Dodge County. I will make decisions operationally that I feel make sense for the citizens of Dodge County."

Also on Tuesday night's agenda was a resolution to abolish a detective's position within the sheriff's office drug task force and change it to a sergeant position. The issue was first presented to the county board during its April meeting, but it was postponed until the report was completed. Matrix Consulting Group, however, agreed that supervision of the unit is recommended going ahead with the change.

However, a motion was made Tuesday and passed to again postpone the vote until September so the county board can go through the report more thoroughly. Schmidt said he is fine with the decision and adds that he will bring all new positions or staffing changes for county board approval next month. Now that the report is complete, the external audit committee will review it. Schmidt said his office has the final say on any operational decisions and the county board will be able to vote on any fiscal recommendations by the analysis.

The next county board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 17.

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