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Lincoln County Sheriff's candidates debate in forum

Sheriff's Candidates.png
Garret Dinges, Sheriff Ken Schneider, and Marlyn "Corky" Woodward participate in a candidate forum for Lincoln County Sheriff.

Three men are asking Lincoln County voters to choose them to lead the Sheriff’s Office.

T.B. Scott Free Library, the Tomahawk Public Library, the League of Women Voters and the UW-Madison Extension-Lincoln County hosted a candidate forum Monday night.

One topic that came up multiple times was staffing.

Current Sheriff Ken Schneider said wages are the biggest issue. The county can’t compete with private sector pay.

“Today I was informed another one of our corrections officers will be leaving for a better paying job in the private sector. Job is starting at $26 per hour. We can’t compete with that at this time," said Schneider.

Marlyn “Corky” Woodward is a write-in candidate for sheriff.

He says the hiring process and standards need to be revised, especially when in come to the police academy.

“It’s not fair that a person comes back from overseas and immediately has to get a job in a factory or truck driving or something and he can’t apply to the sheriff’s department because he don’t have the time or expense," said Woodward.

Garret Dinges acknowledges staffing is an issue.

But he’d like to see relationships with other local enforcement be prioritized.

“One idea, would be to integrate multi-jurisdictional Special Response Team (SRT) between the other local law-enforcement agencies. Tomahawk and Merrill officers would be integrated into this team to better protect and serve our community," said Dinges.

Throughout the forum, Sheriff Schneider talked about how well the Sheriff’s Office was doing, despite challenges like staffing.

Woodward and Dinges say their motivation for running was to bring about new changes to the department.

The T.B. Scott Free Library livestreamed and recorded the debate.

The election is on November 8th.