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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: January 15, 2018

Jim Palmer (608) 273-3840

(MADISON, Wis.) – Following today’s announcement that the Dane County District Attorney’s Office has filed felony criminal charges alleging that Joel Wagner, a former sheriff’s deputy, stole as much as $10,000 from the Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association (DCDSA) when he served as its treasurer, the president of his former union, John Cahill, issued the following statement:

“Despite the fact that the DCDSA has annually received a clean audit for many years, questions arose in 2016 regarding Joel Wagner’s handling of the DCDSA’s finances as it’s treasurer. Joel’s resistance and evasiveness to efforts to increase the transparency of our finances, and based upon information that we were finally able to obtain upon his retirement as a deputy from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in early 2017, we brought our concerns and suspicions to the appropriate authorities and requested an investigation. The DCDSA openly facilitated the outside investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice in any way that we could, and we are dismayed and disgusted to learn the extent to which Joel Wagner appears to have stolen from his fellow officers.

“Wagner’s alleged unlawful conduct only extended to our members’ money and did not impact any taxpayer funds or our charitable operations. In the last year following Wagner’s retirement, the DCDSA has made numerous changes to ensure that this can never happen again. With the assistance of our state association and a new auditing firm that is as dedicated to transparency as we are, we have updated and reformed our internal accounting and bookkeeping controls to bring them in-line with the best practices utilized in the industry.

“As law enforcement officers, the oath that we take to uphold the law is sacred. Given the risks we face together in doing our jobs to protect this community, our ability to trust one another is equally important. Based upon the criminal charges filed today against Joel Wagner, it appears clear that he violated that oath and betrayed the trust we placed in him. The crimes alleged against him are extremely serious, and they mar the integrity and reputation of our dedicated officers who perform their law enforcement duties honorably. The DCDSA intends to pursue every remedy available to it to see Joel Wagner held accountable for his actions and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

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