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How to combat the meth epidemic? Here's where St. Croix County sheriff candidates stand

Scott Knudson (left) and Marion Shaw

Incumbent St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson, who was appointed to the position by Gov. Scott Walker in July 2017, is facing town of Hudson resident Marion Shaw on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Scott Knudson (Republican)

  • Age: 46
  • Address: Somerset Township
  • Education: Somerset High School, University of Wisconsin-Stout, FBI National Academy, Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command, National Sheriff's Institute
  • Occupation: Sheriff of St. Croix County

Why should voters pick you?

My experience in local law enforcement, including duties of the sheriff, provides voters a view of my qualifications. I have served the residents in many roles within the sheriff's office since 1996. I started in the jail, then to the patrol unit, where I served as deputy, canine handler, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. I was appointed chief deputy, and currently serve as your sheriff. Over the last 14 years in leadership, I have had the opportunity to supervise the canine unit and the Emergency Response Unit (ERU). Currently, I lead a group of dedicated individuals, which consists of 85 full time employees. I feel my knowledge in the areas of the jail, court services, investigations, crime scenes and civil process are imperative to running an effective sheriff's office. I have been serving alongside area law enforcement, fire departments, schools, community groups and other public services, affirming my dedication to this county.

How would you make St. Croix County County a safer place to live, work and do business?

The most effective way of achieving a safer community is to continue working with citizens through education and preparation. Often, our most effective tool in solving crimes is with the assistance of citizens themselves. We must be able to share community concerns, and there needs to be open lines of communication in an effort to address some of the issues we are facing today surrounding crime and personal safety. The sheriff's office will strive towards making deputies available to help share information on personal safety measures and preparations in the event of a critical incident. I will continue to work with area stakeholders for enhancing safety measures and combining responses in the event an incident should occur in our places of education, business or worship.

How do you plan to combat the meth epidemic?

The region continues to see methamphetamines as the primary illegal drug used. It will take a group effort from law enforcement, health and human services, courts and citizens to change our current crisis. None of these entities can do this alone; from a law enforcement perspective, I do not feel we can "arrest" or "incarcerate" our way out of this. Putting everyone in jail will not, by itself, change the direction we are on. With that said, it is still imperative that we hold people accountable for their possession, manufacturing and distributing of methamphetamines. We have a compelling need to continue to work towards educating the members of our community on the negative, and at times tragic effects of illegal drug use. I will stay committed to our work with the Criminal Justice Collaboration Council that brings together these groups and continue to work towards combined solutions.

Marion Shaw (Constitution Party)

  • Age: 57
  • Address: Town of Hudson
  • Website: www.shawforsheriff.com
  • Education: Business Administration, Marketing
  • Family: Raised three children in St. Croix County
  • Occupation: 26 years professional sales and management, previously a small business owner.
  • Civic involvement: Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Oath Keepers, Hudson Area Joint Library Board, Town of Hudson Board of Adjustments, Boy Scouts of America

Why should voters pick you?

I am your only Constitutional voice; actions speak louder than words. Our previous sheriffs have demonstrated through actions that following the Constitution, both state and U.S., has not been a priority, but rather a roadblock to drive agenda.

I have years of management experience, 26 of which have been with the same organization. As a 22+ year resident of St. Croix County, I am confident I can utilize my people skills to make St. Croix County a proud place to live, work and conduct business.

I have proven my dedication to serve people by many years of civic involvement and commitment. I chose to voluntarily serve my community so I opted to never receive a single dollar of taxpayer money for my contributions and time. I have committed time with youth with many years as leader of both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I am the longest serving member on the Hudson Area Joint Library Board.

My experience is in the knowledge of our constitutions and management of people. These are the valuable gifts the sheriff needs to execute his office for the benefit of the people.

How would you make St. Croix County a safer place to live, work and do business?

Refocusing on our constitutional protections is tantamount to strengthening our county citizenry.

Prevention through strong, active and informed communities, rather than focusing on increased militarization and force.

Community crime prevention programs, such as neighborhood watch, community policing, physical design changes and comprehensive disciplinary efforts are needed to ensure safer neighborhoods. My goal would be to engage residents, community and faith-based organizations, along with local government agencies in addressing the factors that contribute to the community's crime, delinquency and disorder.

How do you plan to combat the meth epidemic?

After 35 and 48 years, respectively, the D.A.R.E and WAR on DRUGS initiatives have failed. Drug use is a public health problem, not just a problem for the criminal justice system. "Combat" is the wrong word for this subject. War creates casualties.

Harm reduction interventions, a deviation from the historical crime and punishment model, is more successful in addressing this social problem. Engaging the communities' involvement, to dissuade drug activity and encourage a proactive effort is tantamount to the solution and ensures better crime prevention.

Reserving enforcement to protect citizens from the criminal consequences resulting from drug abusers' criminal acts is constitutionally sound.

While upholding the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and enforce such restrictions, I would prevent violations of the Constitutional and civil rights of all citizens.