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Candidates Debate in Race for Douglas County Sheriff

Updated: 07/29/2014 10:31 PM
Created: 07/29/2014 9:56 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Domestic and sexual violence are crimes that go unheard too often, but three candidates for Douglas County Sheriff took part in a debate focusing on the issues on Tuesday in Superior.

The debate was sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA). A panel of reporters asked candidates how they might deal with the issues of domestic and sexual violence as sheriff.

Cooperation with CASDA and the group's Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) was a focus of the debate, and Sheriff Tom Dalbec said he hopes to hire another detective to focus on bringing the two organizations together.

“And that person would certainly be held responsible and accountable to start attending these DART meetings and CCR [Coordinated Community Response] meetings on a more regular basis,” Dalbec said.

Republican candidate Tom Bethards is a narcotics investigator for the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe. He wants more cooperation with CASDA and deputies to focus on aiding victims.

“If the two can build a rapport the victim is much more likely to speak to the police officer and vice versa, and you're going to put the heart of the police officer into the matter when he sees that person as a person and not just another call,” Bethards said.

Douglas County Supervisor Mark Liebaert will face off with Sheriff Dalbec in the Democratic primary. He said CASDA's resources are something the sheriff's office should utilize.

“All I would say is that I would be open to having a discussion with CASDA and that group to make sure that we were participating,” Liebaert said.

The candidates are looking to address the serious issues as they head into election season. The Democratic primary is on August 12 with the general election following on Nov. 4.

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