Candidate to challenge Hardel
By Robert Cloud
A patrol sergeant has filed to run for Waupaca County sheriff.
Sgt. Tim Wilz will challenge Sheriff Brad Hardel in the Aug. 14 Republican primary.
A 1979 graduate of Hortonville High School, Wilz earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Fox Valley Technical College in 1993.
He began his 27-year career in law enforcement with the Manawa Police Department in 1991 and then became a corrections officer with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office in 1995.
After one year as a transport officer, Wilz moved into the patrol division in 1997.
In 2007, he was promoted to patrol sergeant.
“As a first-line supervisor, I make sure we have efficient patrol division operations during my shift,” Wilz said.
Wilz said he is a training coordinator, responsible for training officers in the use of firearms, stun guns, defensive tactics, basic strikes and control, pursuit and high risk traffic stops.
He is also a coordinator for snowmobile, ATV and boat patrols.
Wilz said one of his goals is to “work closely with school administrators and state government to obtain grants to improve school safety with a focus on adding a school resource officer in all our schools in the county.”
School resource officers, like those in Waupaca and Clintonville, help build trust and relationships between law enforcement and students.
“Until students realize that the school resource officer is there for them, we will not be able to stop bullying or be aware of students of interest,” Wilz said.
He said his office could use part-time or retired deputies as school resource officers, while working with municipal agencies.
Among his concerns, Wilz said he wants to examine the department’s budget carefully and establish priorities based on public safety needs.
Drug abuse and addiction are critical issues Wilz wants to address as sheriff.
“Currently, we have two drug enforcement officers and we’re working diligently trying to stop or control drug use in Waupaca County,” Wilz said. “Adding a third or fourth drug officer through available grants would be a step in the right direction.”
Wilz noted that a growing number of traffic stops involve drivers under the influence of drugs, while drug use is the motive behind more and more burglaries and thefts.
Helping people in trouble is a major reason Wilz became an officer.
“I chose to be a law enforcement officer to serve my community through protection and intervention,” Wilz said.
“Often times, we deal with people who are down and out, emotionally unstable, violent drug abusers. Typically, these people are at the lowest point in their lives,” he added.
Wilz, whose wife has an insurance agency, said she had a client he arrested for drunken driving about 10 years ago.
Wilz spent about an hour talking with the offender after the arrest.
“He explained to my wife how I changed his life,” Wilz said. “He never drank a drop since then and he now owns his own business.”
Wilz believes helping people move beyond bad situations and bad decisions is the most “rewarding and satisfying” aspect of being in law enforcement.
If elected sheriff, Wilz said he is committed to having “a professional office with transparency, accountability, fairness and integrity. I plan to be a sheriff who’s on duty at all times for the citizens and employees of Waupaca County.”