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Kenosha County Voters Overwhelmingly Elect Sgt. Zoerner As Sheriff

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Kenosha County Sheriff-Elect David W. Zoerner (R)
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

David W. Zoerner, 53 ,of Pleasant Prairie, was elected Sheriff tonight by a wide margin. He defeated his opponent, an Illinois police officer, by more than 13%. Republicans took all but one Kenosha County race, but Zoerner’s lead was the largest among republicans. Zoerner addressed a room of more than 100 supporters including friends, family, politicians, but most notably, many members of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. All ranks, from Deputies, and Detectives, to Sergeants and Captains celebrated with Zoerner and spoke of great optimism under a Zoerner administration. Congressman Bryan Steil and Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman both congratulated Zoerner and expressed excitement for his successful bid for Sheriff. In an interview with KCE, Zoerner said will focus his attention to filling the personnel vacancies in the jails, and tackling the opioid problem by building up the drug unit. Zoerner touts his close working relationship with County Exec Samantha Kerkman and the County Board and said they have already been in discussions to work on a checklist of goals he wants to accomplish.

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Sheriff-Elect Zoerner And His Youngest Son, Brody (13)
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Zoerner was able to take giant sigh of relief this evening and was emotional. Zoerner spoke about his parents and other loved ones that have passed away and weren’t able to be physically present this evening. He and his volunteers spent countless hours knocking on doors, putting up signs and speaking at events. Zoerner says he is looking forward to a post-campaign life, but is eager and excited to get to work.

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Zoerner said he received a congratulatory phone call from the current Sheriff David Beth, and Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling, but had not received a concession phone call from his opponent.

Amy and David Zoerner
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Zoerner also thanked his wife Amy, for all of the support over the last several months. She would rarely be seen in public without a “Zoerner For Sheriff” shirt or hoodie.

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Kenosha Chief Patrick Patton
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Zoerner said he was congratulated by newly-appointed Kenosha Police Chief Patrick Patton. Patton, like Zoerner, is a U.S. Marine. Zoerner said he is excited to strengthen the releationship between the Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police. Patton told KCE, “I want to congratulate Dave on becoming Kenosha County’s next Sheriff.  Dave is one of the most authentic individuals I have worked with and he is highly respected among his organization, surrounding law enforcement partners, and the community.  Dave has presented a clear vision for his organization and I will support him in achieving that vision in anyway I can. I am excited to work closely with Dave to strengthen the relationship between the Kenosha County Sheriff Department and the Kenosha Police Department to better serve the community together.”

Zoerner will be sworn in on January 3, 2023.

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Sheriff Zoerner’s Victory Speech
(Video by Leo Martin, Kenosha County Eye)
Kenosha County Sheriff-Elect David W. Zoerner and Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Congressman Bryan Steil Offers Zoerner A Congratulatory Hug
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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19 Responses

  1. I wish Dave all the best. He worked hard for this.

    I would encourage him to give more thought to how he wants to tackle the opioid crisis. Building up the drug unit may be inconsequential given that much of the problem came from overprescribed medications. It’s a bigger issue. We should be tough on crime but also smart, too.

    1. Increasing the drug unit would be great! Then perhaps they can shut down all these drug houses that are being rented out in the Uptown area, that was once a quiet and nice place to live! Maybe even get rid of these slumlords!!

    2. Cracking down on dealers and traffickers is a great start, but I see other components that need to be addressed. So long as there is a market, so long as there is profit to be had, there will always be people ready to exploit that market. That applies to legit businesses as well as underground markets. So long as there is no shortage of buyers, there will be sellers and traffickers. I look at how they handled the problem in Gloucester, MA. If a junkie comes in, on his own, admits he has a problem, and consents to drug treatment, he won’t be criminally charged. From what I have read, the market for drugs shrunk, the number of users shrunk, costs of hospitalization and law enforcement costs shrunk. Some even informed on who the dealers were. It was a win-win all around.

      1. We definitely need to have more resources but opioid addiction is not necessarily a street drug parallel. Also, Wisconsin has a terribly severe shortage of prosecutors, public defenders and judges. If we make more arrests we need to have the people who can move forward on those cases. We also have a horribly insufficient treatment network in Kenosha County for drugs and mental health. A modern sheriff should be on top of this.

        1. Exactly. Personally I feel it’s less of an opioid crisis, and more of an accountability crisis. I used to be prescribed Hydrocodone for an old back injury, and now I cannot get any, having to just suck it up and deal with searing pain this time of year. The problem was, doctors were writing out prescriptions willy-nilly, patients were not familiarizing themselves with the signs of addiction. You are right about the lack of resources, county and locally. That is where things stand now. I hope with new leadership comes new approaches. Personally I like the approach they used in Massachusettes, as someone who voluntarily comes in for treatment does not end up with a criminal record, and thus is not barred from employment the way a recently released convict would be and thus is less likely to turn back to crime or addiction.

  2. Increasing the drug unit would be great! Then perhaps they can shut down all these drug houses that are being rented out in the Uptown area, that was once a quiet and nice place to live! Maybe even get rid of these slumlords!!

  3. Overwhelming, interesting choice of words. I think you would be hard pressed to find any national reporters that would call a 13% win “overwhelming “. The race that was overwhelming was the 61st Assembly seat. Amanda won by almost 30%, now that is overwhelming!

    1. Zoerner’s race was County-wide. Nedweski’s race was in a very Republican portion of the county. Congratulations to them both. Try to keep up. I know it’s hard.

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