What Makes a Great Sheriff?



By: Jason W. Guslick,  Republican Candidate for Washington County Sheriff 

A strong and effective Sheriff is someone that can rally the troops; stands behind the independence of the Office of the Sheriff; is responsible to voters not politicians; stands upon their own leadership abilities and trusts in the leadership of their team; and brings staff and the community together through accountability, transparency, honesty, and shared respect that is earned.  As Sheriff, having a clear vision and well-planned execution is essential, however most importantly do what you say you’re going to do or you will lose the respect of your people and the public.

Leading the Sheriff’s Office to address critical public safety matters requires experience.  Here’s the thing, I could make a very long list of law enforcement professionals in this County with those credentials.  I have been privileged to work alongside many of these incredibly experienced professionals.  Can I check the box for the roles important for a Sheriff to have experience in?  Yes, I can.  I have worked at the Sheriff’s office 17 years and have direct experience in the specific duties of a Sheriff. That’s not why people should vote for me. 

A private business who wishes to be top in their industry, does not hire a new CEO simply because their resume checks all the boxes, nor does a pro sports team hire a Head Coach because their resume seems to suggest that would be a good next step.  Top businesses and pro sport teams know experience alone does not make someone a great leader.  Passion, teamwork and the ability to inspire and earn the respect of other does.  The Sheriff’s Office is no different.  Organizations with passionate and inspirational leadership and an engaged and motivated team achieve greatness.  A great leader is someone others respect because he or she does the right thing and doesn’t act with a sense of entitlement or make attempts to manipulate the playing field unfairly.  In the words of John C. Maxwell,

"A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” 

Yes, experience is very important and both candidates for Sheriff have the experience to do the job.  For those that may not be familiar with the positions within a Sheriff’s Office, here are main points. Let’s take the titles of Sheriff, Undersheriff, Captain, Lieutenant, and Sergeant for instance.  As my opponent has stated, the position of Undersheriff is a statutorily required title.  He’s correct, the State of Wisconsin Statutes require someone to be legally able to make a decision if the Sheriff is killed or incapacitated and is unable to do so themselves.  Does being appointed the Undersheriff make you almost the Sheriff already? The answer is, no. 

What makes you a Sheriff is earning the respect of citizens and being elected by the citizens of your jurisdiction.

Positions like Sergeant, Lieutenant or Captain are positions in an organizational chart and are accountable to a supervisor within the Sheriff’s Office. What’s different about the position of Sheriff?  Quite a bit actually.  The independence of the Office of the Sheriff is critical for appropriate checks and balances and upholding and enforcing the law in a manner that is in the best interest of the public. The Sheriff is accountable to the voters and should not be beholden to anyone else.  What it’s not is a position that someone is promoted into based on seniority or because it just seems like it should be the next step. 

The most effective law enforcement office is one in which every member understands their role is important and that their individual leadership at every level is critical to the success of the entire organization.  I don’t fear other strong leaders.  As Sheriff, surrounding myself with strong leadership would make me more effective and elevate the Office as a whole.   A team of highly skilled professionals that are the most dedicated, invested, and effective are only at their best when morale is high.  People wholeheartedly follow great leaders because they want to, not because they have to.  In the same way, a great leader also understands that good morale and teamwork can’t be forced or pushed down by leadership.  I believe a great Sheriff is a fair and ethical leader who recognizes the importance of every contributor; gives credit where credit is due; and is willing to make hard decisions or have tough conversations to allow growth and improvement to occur.  The Sheriff is accountable to the voters and serves not only the public, but the staff he or she leads.

Make no mistake, I do not profess to be the greatest or most inspirational of all leaders, but rather want to share with you what I believe makes a great Sheriff.  As I have done since childhood, I will always push myself to do better, admit when I am wrong, value and appreciate the hard work of others, and dedicate myself to strive towards what I believe a servant and leader should be.

If you would like to see an improvement beyond business as usually for the Sheriff’s Office, please consider voting for Jason W. Guslick for Washington County Sheriff. 


Jason W. Guslick

Posted on 02 Aug 2018, 24:30 - Category: Vision and Passion

Jason W. Guslick is the first candidate for Washington County Sheriff to get his name on the ballot for the Aug. 14 partisan primary election.

May 10, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – Jason W. Guslick is the first candidate for Washington County Sheriff to get his name on the ballot for the Aug. 14 partisan primary election.

Guslick’s announcement to run follows Sheriff Dale Schmidt’s decision to not seek another term. 

 “Sheriff Schmidt has been a great leader of the Sheriff’s Office and has ensured its accountability to the citizens of Washington County. As the Sheriff’s Office begins a new chapter, I believe it is never good enough to be content with where we are at. Citizens should demand government organizations, elected offices and other leaders engage in a constant process of evaluation and appropriate improvement. Improvements should be made for the greater good, safety of the people, successful future of the County, and should represent the collective voice of the citizens of Washington County.”

Posted on 03 Aug 2018, 1:28 - Category: Press



By: Jason W. Guslick, Conservative Republican Candidate for Washington County Sheriff  

       It is critical that the candidate you elect to be the next Sheriff of Washington County has the courage and willingness to directly address the crime and public safety issues affecting the citizens of Washington County.  These issues aren’t always the most politically convenient to talk about, and honestly, they shouldn’t be because they are serious real issues.  You deserve a Sheriff who is willing to speak up and give you a straight answer and propose actionable solutions to address important public safety issues.  Anyone who has had the opportunity to know me on a personal or professional level knows that being straight forward is simply who I am and choose to be.  Running for Sheriff doesn’t change that fact.  

       One of the topics that I have been talking about since the beginning of my campaign relates to the alarming increase in Washington County residents being victimized by criminals coming here from outside our county, particularly from the City of Milwaukee.  According to the 2017 Annual Report of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the number of arrestees who provided City of Milwaukee addresses as their residence in 2017 accounted for nearly 20% of the bookings in our Jail.  Even more disturbing is the fact that this percentage has continued to grow year after year indicating a significant portion of crime in Washington County is being committed by City of Milwaukee residents. 

       A perfect example of this disturbing trend occurred this past weekend in the Village of Kewaskum.  On Saturday May 12, just after 5:00 a.m., a local resident was getting ready to leave for her job when she observed her vehicle being stolen right out of her driveway.  A Kewaskum Police Officer responded to the victim’s house.  A short time later, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office Deputy observed her stolen vehicle southbound on Highway 45.  When the Deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, it sped off, going more than 100 mph.  The driver of the vehicle lost control, crossed the median of the highway, and then sped off again.  At this point, the suspect temporally evaded capture.  A few minutes later, another Deputy located the vehicle, and with the assistance of the West Bend Police Department, stopped the vehicle and took the suspect into custody without incident.  The suspect ended up being a 17-year-old City of Milwaukee resident who was then arrested on multiple charges. 

As your Sheriff, what would I do to address this trend? 

       We need to continue to engage and pursue suspects who flee from us.  Pursuits are inherently dangerous; therefore, a Deputy and Supervisors must always be weighing the benefits of continuing the pursuit versus the risks it poses to the public.  What we must not do is engage in failed strategies like the City of Milwaukee’s “No Chase Policy”.  Arguably, this strategy not only made criminals more brazen, but also led to an increase in violent crime. 

       We need to look at technology solutions such as Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) systems.  ALPRs are currently deployed in our County Parks and are already being used by multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Wisconsin.  Technologies like ALPRs can be a valuable tool for law enforcement as they can be used to rapidly read license plates and cross reference them against lists of stolen plates, vehicles of known drug users/dealers, and vehicles of other known criminals.  Admittedly, some groups and individuals have raised privacy concerns about the use of ALPRs systems.  I believe these concerns can be addressed through clear communication and transparency by law enforcement agencies regarding what data is being gathered, how it’s being used and setting limits on how the system would be used.  

       The incident in Kewaskum over this past week illustrates the amount of resources needed to deal with a situation like a stolen vehicle and high-speed pursuit.  This incident alone involved Sheriff’s Deputies, a Kewaskum Officer and West Bend Police Officers.  Simply think about that for a moment – that’s three different agencies.  It would be cost prohibitive for every City and Village police agency to add the number of staff required to be able to effectively deal with incidents like this one on their own.  Assistance from other police departments or the Sheriff’s Office are often necessary to manage an incident like this one.  

       What this incident also serves to demonstrate is that the increasing victimization of Washington County residents by criminals from the City of Milwaukee is not just a southern Washington County problem.  These crimes aren’t taking place only in places like Germantown and Richfield, the problem is Countywide.  The Sheriff’s Office is funded equally by all taxpayers in the County regardless of if their municipality has its own police department.  As such, the most equitable way to provide Sheriff’s Office services requires having sufficient staffing levels to be able to not only respond to calls in municipalities for which we provide primary law enforcement coverage, but to also be able to aid other police departments when needed.  

       Perhaps most importantly, Washington County needs to have a reputation among criminals that if you commit a crime in Washington County: law enforcement will apprehend you; the District Attorney’s Office will aggressively prosecute you; and the Courts will hold you responsible for your actions.  This is where you, the residents of Washington County come in.  A vote for Jason W. Guslick for Sheriff is a vote for a Sheriff who will take steps to address this important issue.  

Posted on - Category: Issues

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