Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


MPD officer joins 2006 sheriff’s race

One of the city's police officers may not work with the Madison Police Department next fall if plans go accordingly.

Madison Police Department Public Information Officer Mike Hanson held a press conference Monday to announce his candidacy for Dane County sheriff.

Hanson, who also serves as the District 14 Supervisor on the Dane County Board, said he knew he wanted to work at the sheriff's office after working in the office in the early '90s.


"I knew one day I'd want to come back and lead this department," he said. "I've done everything that I can to put this in my position."

Hanson said his candidacy will follow in the footsteps of his father, Ralph Hanson, who served as chief of the University of Wisconsin Police from 1965 to 1991.

Monday's press conference was held at local towing center Schmidt's Towing, which Hanson said reinforced a goal of enforcing traffic safety.

"In 2003, [Dane county] led the state in traffic fatalities," he noted. "Traffic safety is important with the high number of fatalities in our county."

Eileen Bruskewitz, District 25 Supervisor, attended the conference and voiced her support for Hanson's candidacy.

Bruskewitz added Hanson comes to the sheriff's race with good recommendations.

"I think he's got a lot of common sense," she said. "He has a real healthy approach to how the county has to manage the sheriff's department."

Hanson also said the other issues he wants to address is the overcrowding of jails, minority recruitment in the sheriff's office and the growing problem of gangs in the county.

Though Hanson will run as a Republican, he said the position itself should not be highly influenced by politics.

"It is safety first," he said. "Managing the staff, the jail and all the resources involved in the sheriff's office, you can't put politics ahead of safety and resources."

And while Bruskewitz agreed with Hanson's comments, she felt politics may play a part in garnering support from other Dane County Board supervisors.

Bruskewitz also believed the campaign race will be "interesting" as the candidates begin to differentiate in views.

"I think the County Board is a politicized place," she said. "You kind of know who's going to be supporting [Hanson] and who's not."

Hanson will be running against current candidates Dane County Sheriff's Lt. Shawn Haney, Dane County Sheriff's Detective Dave Mahoney and Wisconsin Department of Justice administrator Robbie Lowery.

Mahoney said voters should take experience into consideration when voting this November.

"I hope that the voters will rely upon the reputation and experience that [candidates] bring to [their candidacies]," he added.

Hanson worked with the sheriff's office before transferring to the city's police department in 2001.

Mahoney felt Hanson's experience in the Dane County Sheriff's office "fall[s] short" of Mahoney's 26 years of work in the sheriff's office.

But Hanson said his work in the Madison Police Department allowed him to work with a top-notch department.

"It's been absolutely phenomenal to work for the Madison Police Department," he said. "We're held in such national regard for how we train officers and the resources that we have."

Hanson said he is optimistic about his plans for the November race, adding he is currently in the process of figuring out budgets for his campaign.

"I'm familiar with county politics and how to run campaigns," he said. "The only thing that is awkward in any level of politics is promoting yourself to the public … but you have to do it if you want to win."

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