Sheriff Todd Priebe will be missed

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY WILL BE losing a dedicated and consummate professional public servant when Sheriff Todd Priebe leaves his office next January, a year before the end of his term.

Priebe dedicated his life to law enforcement, first with the city of Sheboygan Police Department and then as Sheboygan County sheriff since Jan. 1, 2011.

During his time with the city of Sheboygan, Priebe demonstrated a strong commitment to community policing and serving the public.

Chief among his many accomplishments with the Sheboygan Police Department was his creation of the Neighbors Against Drugs program, which won several awards for its grassroots effort to combat drug abuse in the city.

NAD was the outgrowth of Priebe’s strong belief that effective law enforcement begins at the local, community level and requires citizen involvement as well as professional efforts.

He brought all of that to the Sheriff’s Department, where he served as a strong and at times outspoken proponent of his department, its mission and its men and women.

He advocated vigorously and forcefully for what he believed the department and its people needed. Sometimes he was successful – as with his effort to keep the purchase of a Lenco Bearcat armored rescue vehicle in the county budget – and sometimes not – as with his effort to win enhanced retirement benefits for correctional officers.

Whatever the outcome, there was never any doubt about his passion for his position and his people.

Sheriff Priebe has been a tireless and forceful advocate of a community approach to law enforcement, dating back to his days on the city of Sheboygan Police Department and carrying on into his current position. He has always emphasized a communityfirst and citizen-first approach to law enforcement.

More than a decade and a half ago, the

Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department was in disarray after being rocked by the arrest of the department’s top official on an OAWI charge.

Sheboygan County was fortunate to have leadership of the department taken by a pair of dedicated professionals – Sheriff Michael Helmke from 2003 to 2011, followed by Sheriff Todd Priebe.

The two of them restored professionalism, pride and dedication to the entire department by their leadership and commitment, and all of us in the county benefited from, and continue to benefit from, that.

Helmke, a Democrat, lost his position in the 2010 election to Republican Priebe, but both left a legacy of strong, dynamic leadership.

It proves that the highest level of service can come from either side of the aisle. It also raises the question of whether the sheriff’s position should be a partisan elected position, but that’s a question for another discussion.

For now, all of us in Sheboygan County should thank Todd Priebe for his service as sheriff and wish him well in his future endeavors.

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