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Sheriff aspirant likens deputies to Nazis

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Ted Sullivan
Friday, October 8, 2010
— Rock County sheriff candidate Gary Keller on Thursday called deputies brownshirts, referring to Adolf Hitler's Nazi storm troopers.

"Anybody that knows anything about history knows what I mean there," Keller said. "People won't talk to them. They just don't have the confidence that they can talk to them and anything is going to be done about it."


Keller's comments came during a forum at the Hedberg Public Library, and incumbent sheriff candidate Bob Spoden immediately fired back.


"I found that a little distasteful that you referred to our deputies as brownshirts, and I can tell you that the men and women of the sheriff's office are dedicated and work very hard for our community," Spoden said. "They care about our community, and they work many hours of overtime. They're parents, they're moms and dads, and to say that they're brownshirts, I think, is not appropriate."


Spoden, 227 Jefferson Ave., Janesville, a Democrat, and Keller, 10520 W. County A, Evansville, a Republican, participated in the forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Janesville and JATV.


The two will face off in November's election. Keller also challenged Spoden in 2006, running as an independent in that race.


Spoden has been sheriff since 2006. Keller is a former Brodhead police officer.


Keller said the sheriff and his top staff members should take a 15 percent pay cut. He said they needed to show people they are serious about cutting the budget.


Spoden said he has saved the county millions of dollars. He said alternative programs have reduced the jail's building needs from a $56 million new jail to a $5 million renovation project.


Keller said his priorities are saving money and reducing the budget. Spoden said his priorities are drug enforcement, managing the budget, fighting underage drinking and managing the jail population.


Spoden said jail should be for people who scare us and not for people who are irresponsible. He said low-risk offenders should be released to save money.


Keller said many inmates with work-release privileges should be allowed to stay home. He said if they violate conditions of their release, they could be locked up.


Spoden said he supports the Second Amendment and gun rights. He said his office would enforce the law regarding carrying concealed weapons, which is illegal in Wisconsin.


Keller said he is the only pro gun candidate. He said the sheriff's office doesn't have to enforce the concealed carry law because it's unconstitutional. He said his priority would be to uphold the Constitution.


Spoden said he would work hard to protect the public in a cost-effective manner. He said he has been honored to be sheriff.


Keller said he is concerned about the direction of the county. He said constitutional rights are being ignored.


Last updated: 3:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012


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