Racine County Sheriff

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Racine County Sheriff's Office
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (United States) of Racine County, Wisconsin in the state of Wisconsin, United States
Legal jurisdiction Racine County, Wisconsin
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Racine, Wisconsin
Sheriff responsible Christopher Schmaling
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Racine County Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of Racine County, Wisconsin, and the head of the Racine County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office is the principal law enforcement agency that serves Racine County, providing police services to multiple areas throughout the county, including contracted areas. The current sheriff is Christopher Schmaling, a Republican who was first elected in 2010.

Areas served[edit]

The Sheriff's Office provides service for the following areas:

The following departments (outside the Sheriff's Office) rely on the sheriff's office for some services and are dispatched on the sheriff's frequency:

As a result, the only areas of Racine County which do not receive these services from the sheriff's office are the cities of Racine and Burlington, and the villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant, North Bay, and Sturtevant.



The incumbent sheriff of Racine County is Christopher Schmaling, who was elected as a member of the Republican Party. He was first elected in the 2010 midterm election, receiving 63 percent of the vote. Schmaling has been part of the sheriff's office since 1996.[1] Schmaling took office on January 3, 2011, replacing retiring sheriff Robert Carlson, who had served in the position since 2003.[2]

Chief deputy[edit]

The chief deputy of the sheriff's office serves as the sheriff's second-in-command. The current chief deputy is John C. Hanrahan. In 2004, the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators awarded him with the Michael Vendola Death Investigator of the Year Award.[3] He was involved in the investigation of Racine County Jane Doe.


Racine County Jail[edit]

The Racine County Jail, located in downtown Racine and sharing a block with the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, is the primary detention facility of the county and the sheriff's office. The jail has a maximum capacity of 876 inmates, making it one of the largest non-state detention facilities in Wisconsin. As of December 2015, the jail had a population of 667.[4] The current administrator of the Racine County Jail is Captain Douglas Wearing.[5]

Operations Division[edit]

The Operations Division, headed by Captain Thomas Lamke, provides public safety services. The division consists of smaller units:

  • The Evidence Custodian, responsible for collecting and preserving evidence for criminal cases
  • The Investigative Bureau, which conducts criminal investigations
  • The Metro Drug Unit, specifically involved in cases regarding illegal drugs
  • Patrol Operations, which patrols the different areas of Racine County

There are also specialized teams:

  • Four K9 units with trained police dogs
  • The Water Safety Patrol and Racine County Dive Team, which perform patrol and rescue operations in the water, both in Lake Michigan and in the county's smaller lakes and rivers
  • A SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team

Support Services Division[edit]

The Support Services Division is responsible for securing county facilities, ensuring the successful operations of the sheriff's office, and providing other services. The division is led by Captain James Weidner. Specific units and responsibilities of this division are:

  • The Civil Process Division, which serves legal papers to individuals and enforces lawful evictions
  • The Records Bureau, which collects and maintains the records of the sheriff's office
  • The holding of sheriff's sales and foreclosure auctions
  • Security for the Racine County Courthouse, Racine County Law Enforcement Center, and Racine County Jail