Sheriff contenders discuss gun rights
GOP hosts candidates’ forum
By Robert Cloud
The two candidates for Waupaca County sheriff discussed their views on Second Amendment rights and law enforcement at a June 16 forum.
Sheriff Tim Wilz and Detective Sgt. Cameron Durrant spoke at the forum hosted by the Waupaca County Republican Party.
“The Second Amendment is important to me,” Durrant said. “I’m an avid hunter and sportsman. I don’t want to lose my firearm. I will uphold and enforce any laws that are on the books, though.”
Durrant said he also wanted to protect Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.
“I want to make sure it’s done properly, even against suspects or defendants,” he said. “That’s something that is an issue in our department at this time.”
“The Second Amendment is probably the most valued amendment in the Bill of Rights that we have,” Wilz said. “I support conceal carry. In fact I think everyone should conceal carry. Protect yourself. We may not get there.”
Wilz said he opposed red-flag laws.
Red-flag laws allow police, family members and doctors to petition the court for an extreme risk protection order to prevent someone from having access to firearms for up to a year. The law allows the courts to intervene in potentially dangerous situations.
Wilz said he believes red-flag laws violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Fifth Amendment right to due process and the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure.
“I definitely will not be in favor nor will I act on anything of red flag,” Wilz said. “That’s not going to happen on my watch.”
Reasons for seeking office
Durrant said he was concerned with the future of public safety in Waupaca County.
He noted that investigative reports were changed without the authoring deputies’ permission or knowledge and these changes led to Brady violations that hampered prosecution.
“Detectives have been suspended or fired for reporting the problematic behavior of changing the reports,” Durrant said.
“The leadership of the current sheriff has resulted in fractured relationships within the Waupaca County justice system, low morale at the sheriff’s office, growing mistrust in the community,” he said.
Durrant said his goal is to rebuild the fractured relationship between the sheriff’s office and other criminal justice partners.
Wilz said he initially ran for sheriff because he recognized that prior administrations had poor spending habits and he was committed to keeping taxpayer dollars in mind.
Wilz said his department has kept spending at or below its budget.
Noting that prior to his taking office, Wilz said promotions were based on who was liked and had most seniority rather than on merit and self-initiative.
“What that did was create bitterness and disrespect for our administrators and those who had been promoted,” Wilz said, noting that morale has improved since he became sheriff.
The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 9.