September 9, 2010

Molnar hopes to bring outsider's perspective to Sheriff's Department

Ron Molnar
Ron Molnar speaks frankly when it comes to the Racine County Sheriff’s Department.

“There’s a lack of leadership and a lack of managing resources,” he said.

As the only Republican candidate who doesn’t work for the department, he doesn’t have to worry about hurting his co-workers’ feelings or returning to a job where he challenged superiors. He’s using that freedom on the campaign trail to raise pointed concerns about Sheriff Bob Carlson and the direction the Sheriff’s Department has gone in the past four years.

“I’ve met with police chiefs throughout the county,” Molnar said. “There’s an obvious need for improved relations.”

Improving relationships starts with dialogue, he said.  

“Every relationship starts with dialogue and that leads to relationships and relationships lead to trust,” Molnar said. “That’s what’s missing. Trust.”

Specifically, Molnar criticized the Sheriff for losing $710,000 when the state Department of Corrections cancelled its contract with Racine County. County Board members, including Molnar, have tried to investigate what happened for six months, but have made little progress.

“Information about why and what’s being done is sketchy, at best,” Molnar said.
“Citizens I’ve talked to are outraged,” he added about the lost contract.

Molnar also said the Sheriff’s Department needs to stop using the Racine County Jail as a “penalty box” for wayward staff. Right now deputies are reassigned to the jail when they get disciplined or rub someone the wrong way.

“That needs to stop,” Molnar said. “It needs to be a professional occupation. It needs to be a career path.”  
There’s no love loss between Molnar and Carlson. The two ran head-to-head in 2006 with Carlson winning by about 6,200 votes. Four years later, Molnar feels the Sheriff’s Department needs a “new direction.”

If elected, Molnar said he would work to improve the Sheriff’s Department’s relationships with Mount Pleasant, Caledonia, and Sturtevant. Right now the Sheriff’s Department handles many incoming calls from the villages and assigns their deputies to take the cases. In one instance, Molnar said, a deputy was called from Waterford to an armed robbery in Mount Pleasant at the same time that there were six Mount Pleasant police officers on the street.

Cases like these lead to tension between the villages and the Sheriff’s Department, Molnar said. He’d address those tensions by re-writing the Sheriff’s Department patrol plan to give the villages more control over their calls for service and using Sheriff’s deputies for backup.

“We need to eliminate the duplication of services, primarily on the east end,” Molnar said. “We’re not in competition with Sturtevant, Mount Pleasant and Caledonia. Our job is to supplement.”  

The new patrol plan should free up resources for the Sheriff’s Department to track down the more than 560 people wanted on felony warrants, report illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and to cross-train deputies on various jobs, such as water patrol.

Joint dispatch plays an important role in this plan, Molnar said. Right now the Sheriff’s Department handles all incoming 911 calls from cell phones, which is one reason deputies and not village police are dispatched to calls. Moving to a combined dispatch would route all calls to the officer or deputy closest to the scene.

“Consolidated dispatch will help reduce the feelings of frustrations from the communities,” Molnar said.
Molnar is running his second campaign of the year and his third since 2006. He was elected to the Racine County Board in April. His district, No. 14, contains parts of Mount Pleasant and Racine.

He’s now making a run at a full-time elected position that matches up with his career experience. Molnar graduated with a degree in criminal justice from MATC in Madison. He’s also a trained emergency medical technician and a volunteer fire fighter in Kansasville.

Molnar grew up in DeForest the second oldest of five siblings, including four brothers. His Dad worked for the Dane County Sheriff’s Department and his grandpa was a police officer on the East Coast.

Molnar got hired in 1985 by the Department of Corrections and bounced around the state taking promotions and learning different skills. He wound up in the Racine area after the Racine Correctional Institution opened in Sturtevant.

Molnar, who lives in Mount Pleasant, was elected to the Racine County Board this spring. He now works at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. Per state law, he’s on a leave of absence from his job until after the campaign.

Molnar’s job performance became news last month after the JT reported he was demoted by the Department of Corrections for rules violations. Molnar said the demotion was political retribution for running against Carlson in 2006. Carlson was appointed sheriff by Gov. Jim Doyle in 2004.

Molnar said his 25 years of experience in working in state prisons qualifies him to manage large budgets, schedule employees, handle evaluations, negotiate contracts, address grievances,  oversee training and develop staff.

“I’m not a patrol deputy and I make no apologies for that whatsoever,” Molnar said. “I have enforce state law and statutes and worked with people out in the community.”

Molnar has been campaigning for the Republican nomination since June. He spoke highly of his opponents, Chris Schmaling and Gonzalo Gonzalez.

“I like both of my opponents,” Molnar said. “They’re both good people. If you’re a victim of a serious crime, I would hope Chris was working on your case. I’ve known Gonzo for 15 years. He’s a very good person.  

“Each of us thinks we’re the best, each of us thinks we can win.”

Molnar said he’s a true conservative, noting he ran for sheriff as a Republican in 2006. He’s earned several endorsements from local government leaders, including a key endorsement from former sheriff and now County Executive Bill McReynolds.

Molnar said his law enforcement experience outside of the Sheriff’s Department makes him the most qualified for the job.

“I’m from the outside, I’m going to go in there and get things on track,” he said. 

Past stories on Republican Sheriff candidates: 

Gonzalez talks leadership in run for Sheriff

Schmaling touts law enforcement, business experience in run for Sheriff

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  1. Good to see one candidate talking about the lack of passing along dispatch calls to the local Police departments in Mt Pleasant, Sturtevant and Caledonia. This has gone on way too long putting residents in danger. There are many stories floating around these communities where the caller had to wait for a Sheriff's deputy to arrive rather than the local police.

    I would hope the villages don't agree to joint dispatch until this issue is fixed and shown to work prior to an agreement. Thank you Ron for finally getting this out in the open.

  2. Molnar is a bully that likes to break the rules and intimidate people. Vote for success not failure. Vote for Schmaling.

  3. What bugs me, and I cant get past it is how someone who has never, I mean NEVER been a sworn law enforcement officer be elected sheriff.

  4. First off it doesn't take a law enforcement officer to be a Sheriff. It takes an administrator. The Sheriff isn't out there walking the beat. He's making sure his deputies are out there walking the beat and doing there job. That's it. Many counties in this state have elected non-sworn police officers to run the department and that's all they do is run the department and they do it well.

    Second, This smear campaign of Ron by what appears to be the same blogger that was complaining about him on the Journal-Times and other places has to stop. What you are blogging and saying about Ron is simply not true and if it's from the Schmaling camp it's reflecting poorly on your camp and your candidate then on Molnar. Really how low will you go. Do you see anything in Ron's article where he belittles and lies about the other candidates. NO.

    Also we do now have federal identity theft laws that also include the Internet and they are enforcing this law. If you're out there and constantly lying and stating falsehoods with the intent of trying to ruin a persons reputation on the Internet, they will come after you. They can tell from your IP address exactly where you live. It's easy to hide behind anonymous and belittle a good, honest, decent, man.

    If Schmaling was so squeaky clean and not feeling threatened by Ron he or his supporters would not have to stoop so low.

    "a key endorsement from former sheriff and now County Executive Bill McReynolds."

    I do not want another yes man to mcreynolds.

  6. You've got to be kidding me!!!! Name one, just one, Sheriff in Wisconsin who was not a cop!

    Secondly, what is wrong with sending wayward employees to the Jail ( if you can't fire them) as opposed to leaving them on patrol where they can fudge up a case/call for us citizens...i'd rather they be in the jail dealing with the mopes and low lifes than out in the public.

    We do need to stop the duplication of services. The Sheriff's Department has been serving the citizens of Racine County since 1838.....Mt. Pleasant PD has been around for the last 20 or so years and they are the ones duplicating services. The FACT is that the by the Wisconsin State Constitution the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the entire county.

    Just think how much MONEY the residents of Mt. Pleasant, Caledonia and Sturtevant could save if they contracted with the County for law enforcement services... just like Waterford, Union Grove, Rochester, etc. MILLIONS saved by the taxpayers, less three chiefs, and several administrator tpyes...real police work! It is well past time for Mt. Pleasant to give up the fifedoms.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. 12:51

    No money will be saved. Money will just be shifted. IF the 3 villages west of the I contract with the County, the village tax bill would go down, but the County's portion would go up to raise all the funds needed for extra staff for a large arfea of coverage. You would save nothing. I dont know about you, but I want Sturtevant protected by Sturtevant Police department, responsible to and overseen by the citizens of Sturtevant. There has been enough consolidation.

  9. This race is a mess. It should not be politiced. They are all buddies of McReynolds, with probably the exception, Joe Buckley. Schmaling really worries me, because he is just soooo full of himself, and it doesn't come across well with me. We sure don't need someone with an inflated ego running the Sheriff's Department like we have running the County!

  10. Ron is a very good man and will do a great job as Sheriff. He has been involved in our community for a long time and knows what should and should not be done to be effective and effecient. I think working for Department of Corrections in management for all those years has given him the skills to manage this department. Remember law enforcement is only one aspect of the department. The Sheriff is also responsible for corrections and the will of the court. All of these are awesome responsibilities and we need a leader not a cop who thinks just because he/she served for a number of years in that role that they are cut out to run a department.

  11. They should call Gonzalez "Gunzo" instead of Gonzo. Do you want a grenade launching commando type of Sheriff or a listener, bridge builder and the type of Sheriff that will listen to the needs of minorities and the underprivilaged of Racine County? We don't need a hardcore Republican Sheriff that will roll out the troops but we need a Sheriff like Schmaling that will bring everyone together and solve things peacefully and make both sides happy. Vote for freedom, vote for Schmaling.

  12. I agree with 4:13. Schmaling is getting my vote. Molnar is simply and very clearly not qualified. Gonzalez is full of himself and lazy.

  13. Schmaling is not remotely qualified to be sheriff amd Gonzo likes to polish his gun collection in his free time. Vote for Schmaling!