Editor’s note: All six of our area Sheriff’s Offices (Barron, Burnett, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, and Washburn) responded to a recent survey and therefore received a donation to buy new equipment. DrydenWire contacted each of our area Sheriffs to find out what they are planning to purchase with the funds.

RUSK COUNTY -- The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office is about to get some new equipment after receiving an anonymous donation.

In the fall of 2021, the Badger State Sheriff’s Association (BSSA) learned of an individual interested in making an anonymous donation to enhance the safety of law enforcement personnel in Wisconsin. In response, the BSSA contacted the Law Enforcement Foundation of Barron County (LEFBC) to engage that organization’s partnership in accepting such a donation. The BSSA then undertook the creation of the 2021 BSSA Safety First Initiative to survey the 72 Wisconsin Sheriffs on their safety needs.

A total of fifty-three Sheriffs responded to the BSSA Safety First survey with equipment needs that exceeded 1.4 million dollars. The results of the survey were provided to the anonymous donor who, reiterating a desire to help keep law enforcement officers in Wisconsin safe while handling high-risk events, determined to fully fund the requested equipment.

Sawyer County Sheriff Doug Mrotek was among the 53 that responded to the survey and received a donation to purchase new equipment.

DrydenWire: How much money did you request/receive?

Sheriff Mrotek: After discussion on several occasions with Executive Director Dean Meyer regarding the available amount, we learned that there was potentially $29,000 available to apply for, which is what we applied for. We were later informed that we were awarded the $29,000.

DrydenWire: What equipment will you be purchasing with this donation?

Sheriff Mrotek: We are using the $29,000 for tactical headsets with integrated digital hearing protection, along with scalable armored ballistic vests for our SWAT Team.

DrydenWire: Why did you choose this equipment?

Sheriff Mrotek: The hands free tactical headsets will allow our team members to communicate while remaining armed to better serve their positions. The headsets will also protect their hearing in the event any weapons are discharged, especially inside a building. The vests will be an upgrade from our current SWAT Team vests, giving our team members the advantage of carrying more equipment and better placement of that equipment.

DrydenWire: What would you like to say to the anonymous donor?

Sheriff Mrotek: Sawyer County is very fortunate to receive a donation this large from one donor. We extend our appreciation and gratitude to the anonymous donor. This donation will enhance the safety and reduce the risk to our SWAT Team every time they respond to a critical call.


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