Sheriff Vogel Denies Campaign Improprieties

Door County Sheriff’s Deputy Will Oakley, who is challenging incumbent Terry Vogel for Door County Sheriff, has filed a complaint against Vogel in United States District Court, alleging that the sheriff used his position to thwart his efforts as a candidate for public office.

Sheriff Vogel denied Oakley’s charge that he assigned Oakley to a training course this fall to prevent him from campaigning in Door County.

Oakley says that when he requested a transfer from his jailer position to a patrol assignment in June, Vogel assigned him to attend a basic recruit academy at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, which prevents him from campaigning during the week. The academy is a series of courses offered by technical colleges that lasts about 13 weeks. To attend the academy, Oakley has lived in a hotel during the work week with the Nov. 2 election coming fast.

Oakley said the academy is an entry-level law enforcement course and unnecessary for an officer with his experience. He has been with the department for 20 years as a patrol officer and jailer.

Vogel denied that Oakley’s assignment was politically motivated.

“It’s standard that after five or six years out of patrol, you will have to go to basic training,” because laws and procedure change significantly, Vogel said, siting a Sept. 23, 2009 email from the state to the jail division that said anybody coming out of a jail position would have to go to basic training. “Oakley was in the jail for over 11 years. There was no question he would have to.”

Vogel said he informed Oakley that the training would be required when he applied for the transfer and that he spoke to him about the situation again one week before the training began.

“I asked him, ‘Are you sure you want to do this right now?’” Vogel recalled. “By our labor contract, he can choose to go back to his original position in the jail at any time, even up to 90 days after his training is completed.”

Vogel said he doesn’t set up the training either. “That is set up by the field service lieutenant.”