Dane County Sheriff
David J. Mahoney (Democratic), Incumbent
David J. Mahoney (Dem)
1. What educational, occupational, and civic experiences have you had that qualify you for this office? Be sure to address your experience working with diverse communities. I am honored to serve as Dane County Sheriff. I am on the ballot in November, unopposed. During my 12-year tenure, we have reduced the number of people in jail, created initiatives to reduce racial disparities, and worked with diverse stakeholders to find a safe, humane, and cost-effective solution to the unsafe jail facilities in the City County Building. We’ve shown that by working together, we can protect public safety, address inequities, and get people the help they need to stop the cycle of offending and re-offending. There’s more to do. That’s why I’m running for re-election.
2. How should the sheriff’s office work with municipal police departments to encourage appropriate diversion of people from jail? During my tenure, we have developed strong working relationships with municipal police departments. We share expertise and work together on issues including criminal justice reform. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office participates actively, along with municipal police, in important efforts like the United Way’s Immigration and Refugee Task Force and the Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration. We have increased the number of deputy sheriffs working in rural Dane County through our contract policing partnerships with many municipalities across the County.
3. What should the sheriff’s office do to best serve the mental health needs of inmates? Under my leadership, we have taken proactive, effective, and innovative steps to address the reasons people enter the criminal justice system in the first place. Mental illness is a huge part of that. We have improved how we serve the mental health needs of inmates. There is more to do. We will be adding onto the Public Safety Building jail and creating, for the first time, required medical and mental health beds and programming space for inmates with mental health needs, while decreasing overall jail beds in our system.
4. What are your priorities for the coming term? We must continue to address the overwhelming opioid crisis in Dane County. We must continue the work underway, with the help of the United Way, to address emerging issues in communities of color by bringing together community leaders and law enforcement to form partnerships and find solutions. We must continue to increase and expand criminal justice reforms including alternatives to incarceration. We must do a better job of preventing and reducing gun violence.