Waupaca County Sheriff survives election challenge amid special prosecutor review

Waupaca County Sheriff Tim Wilz
Waupaca County Sheriff Tim Wilz
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:52 AM CDT
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WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Waupaca County Sheriff Tim Wilz survived a challenge Tuesday in the Republican primary for sheriff.

Wilz defeated Sgt. Cameron Durrant 58 percent to 42 percent. Wilz received 5,207 votes to Currant’s 3,748 votes.

Wilz continues to face a special prosecutor review into his office on allegations of altered reports that could impact court cases. District Attorney Veronica Isherwood made the announcement Monday--one day before the election.

ALL ELECTION RESULTS: https://www.wbay.com/politics/election-results/

First Alert Investigates has been following this story since February. CLICK HERE for our report on a hearing involving the investigation.

Action 2 News talked with Wilz Monday. “We’ve done nothing wrong, all we want to do is work things out and we are getting no relief. It’s a constant coming after us and the citizens of Waupaca County can’t afford that. We are still doing our job, business as usual, protect and serve, and I took that oath, but not so sure the DA stands behind the oath she took,” said Wilz.

Isherwood said she felt it was important to share the announcement despite the timing.

“In an effort to move forward the District Attorney requested a Public Integrity investigation of the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. That investigation has been completed. As a result of the criminal investigation into the actions of the Sheriff and some of his administrative staff, the Waupaca County Circuit Court has appointed a Special Prosecutor to review the investigation for possible criminal charges,” says DA Isherwood.

Isherwood explained the investigation:

“The Waupaca County District Attorney identified a violation by the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, which, if not turned over to the defense, would constitute a Brady violation. The violation involved a Detective Captain who incorrectly instructed a deputy that he did not need a search warrant when a suspect’s vehicle was seized and searched because it was suspected to contain evidence of a separate crime that had previously been referred to the District Attorney. That same Captain then changed the deputy’s report to cover up the incorrect direction, concealing exculpatory evidence in the process. Officers who questioned the Captain’s actions were disciplined. The change to the report was never shared with the District Attorney’s Office by administrative staff. Ten days later an anonymous whistleblower informed the District Attorney of the violation. After notifying defense counsel, a motion to suppress the evidence found during the illegal search was filed and an evidentiary hearing was held on February 21, 2022 in Waupaca County Circuit Court Branch 3 who found the action of changing the officer’s report and withholding exculpatory evidence to be a Brady violation.

“Sheriff Tim Wilz testified as did the Detective Captain and the deputy who conducted the search. Both the sheriff and captain testified the report was not changed, it was “corrected” and that such corrections happen regularly. When asked about a statement the Sheriff made to the District Attorney that was false, the Sheriff testified “I guess I can tell Isherwood anything I want.” This testimony has thrown the District Attorney’s ability to prosecute criminal cases based on Sheriff’s Office referrals into a tailspin. The District Attorney cannot work on correcting the issues with a Sheriff who believes he can lie to her and refuses to acknowledge the unconstitutional actions of a member of his administration staff.

“In an effort to move forward the District Attorney requested a Public Integrity investigation of the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. That investigation has been completed. As a result of the criminal investigation into the actions of the Sheriff and some of his administrative staff, the Waupaca County Circuit Court has appointed a Special Prosecutor to review the investigation for possible criminal charges.”

First Alert Investigates will continue to follow this story.

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