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Constitutional rights and re-opening the economy | By Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt

April 18, 2020 – Dodge Co., WI – This first month of the Safer-at-Home order has been extremely challenging for all of us.  The news of the extension of the order creates even more anxiety, frustration, and fear.  Over the last couple of days, I have spoken with many of you in the community regarding concerns and questions about the newest extension.  I will tell you that I share many of the concerns that you all have.


First let me address the constitutionality of the order.  From the beginning, I have always been concerned with its constitutionality and when I brought up my concerns, I felt that I was not taken seriously. Due to my concerns, on March 24 I directed my staff to ask for compliance of the order but further ordered that they contact me directly before taking any actual enforcement of the order such as forcibly closing a business or making an arrest.  My intent with my order was to evaluate each incident individually to ensure no constitutional rights were infringed upon by actions of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.  Of course it was necessary to inform the public of potential repercussions to not following the order as I continued to evaluate constitutional issues.


Fortunately, I have received zero phone calls from my deputies needing to take enforcement action. The only enforcement actions (criminal charges) we have taken have been subsequent to other egregious criminal activity that occurred which will never be tolerated. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office will always protect the lives, property and CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of our citizens.


I do thank all of you who have voluntarily complied with the order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Voluntary compliance is always constitutional and to this point has helped us to keep our community healthy from the virus.  I implore everyone to please continue social distancing and following CDC guidelines.


I have been in contact with our state representatives and leaders throughout this pandemic and I will continue to do everything I can to protect our citizens both from the COVID-19 virus as well as from orders that may be unconstitutional.  However, it is crucial that we begin to open up our economy for the safety of our citizens who need to provide for their families and pay bills.


There are currently several lawsuits that are being developed that likely will be filed this week to challenge the extension of the governor’s order.  It is my hope that these challenges will lead Governor Evers to realize he must revise what has been put out and it needs to be more in line with the President’s common-sense phased approach to reopening the economy.  I have never been a fan of painting with a broad brush. We need to start implementing common sense measures based on the virus’s impact around the state.


Governor Evers, I am formally requesting that you re-evaluate your safer at home order and begin gradually re-opening our economy.  Our families are suffering and have been left with very little hope. Part of being a great leader is providing HOPE and showing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Relaxing the restrictions with common sense in mind will provide that hope.  You are standing in the minority in your position to close down our state through the end of May.  Even the neighboring states in which you relied on to make your decision are opening their economies well before the end of May.  I implore that you keep our citizens safe while also beginning to open up our economy. Also, immediately end those orders that infringe on the constitutional rights afforded to our citizens.


My statement today is made out of respect to everyone, including our health care workers who have worked so hard to keep our community safe, while also looking out for those who are healthy but still suffering.  Common sense must be our guiding principle so we can re-open our economy safely so we can once again enjoy Dodge County, a great place to live, work and visit.



Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt



  1. It’s to early and we can still spread it like wildfire if we don’t do a better job eliminateing it before we decide to open the state open then we would have just gone backwards. It’s is a rough time but it’s for the best. We either choose life or late bill payment you choose? For me it’s simple I’d rather play catch up then be dead period

    • Dear JohnDoe… the initial safe at home order was to avoid an over crowding and a collapse of our health system. That has NOT happened….. now they have changed the goal posts and want to see a reduction in the virus and protect the elderly. THAT was NEVER included in the first orders and THAT IS UNFAIR EVEN TO THE ELDERLY. To say that the elderly (over 65 and MANY OF US don’t feel that over 65 is ELDELRY”) SHOULD REAMIN LOCKED DOWN…. UNTIL WHEN???? And for the Governor to close State parks NOT because of the spread of the virus but because some PUNKS left trash and vandalized a park…. that’s punishing the entire state for the actions of a few! Milwaukee and Madison are the hot spots… if CHINA could lock down a city of 50 million….. the Governor should be able to lock down the cities with a couple of hundred thousand don’t YOU think? It was NEVER the plan to stay locked down until the virus is eliminated…..this is only making precedence for the NEXT virus that comes along… then what… we lock down the elderly again?… WHY not just kill them where they stand if you are going to do that! The “elderly” and the vulnerable live with dangers every day… but they are LIVING…. NOT BEING LOCKED AWAY WAITING TO DIE IF NOT FROM THE VIRUS THEN FROM THE LACK OF EXERCISE AND MENTAL STIMULATIONS……. OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY AND WE DON’T LIKE IT…. AND IT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    • Maybe you should be a business owner who is forced to close, you might have a different view of it. Some of these people will basically be forced to close their doors thanks to the clueless Governor we have. You want to talk about a rough time, talk to the business owners trying to stay a float .

  2. Mr. Schmidt I agree whole heartedly with you, and applaud you for taking the time to make you ideals public. I truly wish that more people in positions such as yours, would be willing to voice their opinions publicly . Thank you.
    I love my country, and like to think it is a free country like I was taught it is supposed to be.
    Truth is with orders like this from the Governor, our State would be more comparable to a communist country that takes away the free will of it’s people to choose how we live our lives!

  3. Thank you Dale… we miss you here in Washington County…. it would be nice if OUR sheriff would be as kind as to make a statement like you did…… Stay Safe …. Stay healthy… and God Bless you and your job.

  4. Right now, the coronavirus itself is no less dangerous than it was three weeks ago, or three months ago. What’s different is that many are becoming more afraid of something else – economic hardship and a perceived loss of personal liberty – than they are afraid of contracting or spreading the virus. What does it say about our country that so many people feel they have to make this risk assessment after just a few weeks? We all want a return to “normal”, the faster the better. But let’s listen to the people who are looking out for our well-being, guided by experience, law and science (like Sheriff Schmidt and Governor Evers, each in their own way); let’s ignore the bad advice of people who are looking out for their stock portfolios and poll ratings.

  5. Bob this is not a “perceived lose of liberty” It is an actual loss of liberty!
    Also how can you say the governor is looking out for our well-being? Small businesses shut down big business like Menards open and packed full of people. If it was actually as bad as what he says, why pick and choose what gets shut down? Why aren’t the airlines shut down? 200 plus people shoulder to shoulder spending hours together then dispersing into a completely different local. Seriously a double standard, and a politically driven agenda.

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