Letter to the Editor: How Much is That Doggie in the Drug Bust?

It might have been K-9 envy, pure and simple, or, “glory days” nostalgia on the part of local retired and active sheriff’s department personnel during the highly publicized three-county illicit drug ring investigation and arrests, implicating 30 individuals in Door and Kewaunee counties, that lead the Door County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) to team with the Door Community Foundation to establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding mechanism outside the immediate purview and control of the Door County Law Enforcement Committee (LEC), which is directly tasked with overseeing the activities of the DCSD. Thus was born the dubiously titled public, shell-protected charity for anonymous donors, the Door County Crime Prevention Foundation (DCCPF) and also a significant dilemma for Door County government.

There was never any county policy for officially accepting anonymous charitable giving that could not be directly controlled by county government, which now exists with the DCCPF funding mechanism. Rules in place to cover other types of gifts and donations to the county are not applicable to the DCCPF funding. The K-9 unit was coming to the DCSD, like it or not. The DCSD has legally procured a desired tool for its, “arsenal,” through circumventing established county governance rules.

Please don’t confuse the touted benefits of the K-9 unit with the issue of criticism for the now established funding mechanism created under the DCCPF, but in May the LEC came to the seeming rescue of their now partially, but permanently neutered DCSD oversight duties, with a toothless motion to give the appearance of doing their job of overseeing the DCSD.

From the minutes of that May 15, LEC meeting, approved yesterday (June 19), through discussion between Sheriff Delarwelle and Administrator Pabich (Item 8. K-9 Update) a reporting mechanism of the anonymous charitable funding from DCCPF was to be established:

“Robillard makes motion to accept the reporting process of gifts/grants/donations received from the Door County Community Crime Prevention Foundation, once threshold is met, to bring to committee as an FYI and then list all expenditures in the Annual Report; Vlies-Wotachek seconds the motion. Motion carried unanimously.”

Yesterday, LEC was presented with a draft resolution stating Robillard’s May 15, motion, but the draft resolution entitled, “CANINE UNIT,” also contained two stipulations never discussed nor ever moved and approved by the LEC.

Along with deceptively worded origins of the DCCPF, a disclaimer that the K-9 unit may not actually prevent crime, and an implied commitment that the county would be providing unspecified future public funds in conjunction with DCSD acceptance of DCCPF funds, was an implicit expansion of LEC, therefore tacit county approval, condoning spending DCCPF funds for, “community relations,” i.e. DCSD expenditures easily construed as campaign PAC spending in the upcoming 2018 sheriff’s election. Hopefully County Board Chair Lienau has the leadership sense to disallow this LEC resolution from ever coming before the entire Board and it isn’t agendized for June 27, in its current form.

Don Freix

Fish Creek, Wis.

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