Popp is challenger for Marinette County sheriff

Fred Popp

MARINETTE, Wis. – Marinette County Sheriff’s Deputy Fred Popp has announced that he will be challenging incumbent Jerry Sauve for a four-year term as Marinette County Sheriff on the Republican ticket.

Sauve, also a Republican, has announced that he is seeking a third term. The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Popp said he is running because he believes change is needed, and believes the position of sheriff “is a privilege whose primary concern is to serve all the people, both civilian and law enforcement. It should not matter what a person’s position, sex, creed, political affiliation or title is.”

An effective sheriff should be a strong leader who knows how to encourage, strengthen, negotiate and bridge the gap in differences between all personnel, Popp said. “He should be consistently meeting with community groups, people within the county, and his own department personnel, seeking out different ideas and resources. He should understand how important the concept of value or building one up is and use common sense in maintaining fair and impartial discipline. A sheriff needs to be a good representative of the people and not just a good politician.”

Popp, who graduated from Niagara High School in 1986, said his career in law enforcement, both civilian and military, spans over 28 years.

He grew up in a small town, in a household that was both Democratic and Republican, “but I am a conservative at heart.” He is a card-carrying Republican, member of both the county and state party. He also was president of the local Wisconsin Professional Police Association for three terms, and so is able to understand the difficulties and challenges of working between management and union on both disciplinary and labor contract matters.

“I am a strong union advocate, but I believe everyone needs to contribute positively to make this a team effort,” Popp said. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin County Police Association as well as being a member of WPPA.

After high school graduation Popp worked at the Niagara paper mill until he saved enough money to attend UW-Oshkosh to study political science and law enforcement.

In 1988 he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served four years as a military police officer. He received numerous awards while in serving in Germany during the first Gulf War, spending his last year as a sergeant in charge of his squad as a leader for Protection Services for the Brigadier General at the 59th Ordinance Brigade in Germany.

After discharge in 1992 he went back to work at the paper mill until being hired by the Niagara Police Department. He received police officer certification from the Fox Valley Technical School Police Academy in Appleton and continued working for the Niagara Police Department until being hired by a private investigative company out of Green Bay, where he worked for approximately two years doing investigations on insurance fraud cases, surveillance and undercover narcotic operations.

He then worked for a year and a half for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, were he did road patrol and correctional work in a 900-bed jail, and became certified in jail operations.

In 1995 he was hired by the Marinette City Police Department. “I received multiple awards, certifications and letters of appreciation from citizens I had contact with while working for Marinette Police Department,” Popp said.

In September of 2001 Popp and another Marinette officer spent a week of their own personal time as volunteers helping with cleanup efforts at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks and the fall of the Twin Towers. He said they had the support of the Marinette Police Department and later did presentations to numerous community groups in the area.

In 2003, when Mike Kessler was sheriff, Popp was hired as a deputy by the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office, his current job. He is proud that Kessler, his former supervisor, has endorsed his candidacy for sheriff. He said he received numerous awards from the past sheriff’s office administration, including a Life Saving Award from Sheriff Kessler, but added, “My greatest awards are when I receive thank you letters from citizens I had positive experiences with and was able to somehow make a difference in their lives.”

During his 15 years with the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office, Popp has had training or attained certification in basic and advanced field training operations; tactical instructor for law enforcement officers; been a member of the Special Reaction Team for about seven years; and received training in advanced interviewing of adults and forensic interviewing of juveniles.

Investigations training has included burglary, mental health intervention, advanced commercial motor vehicle operations, accident reconstruction and advanced crash investigation.He has had training in court security and as an evidence technician.

He and Melissa, his wife of 17 years, live at 2829 Riverside Ave., Marinette, with their 3-year-old son, Vailen. Popp said they attend church services regularly, are active members of the YMCA, donate time and money to local charities, and “have family values with a sense of care, giving and kindness.”

The office of sheriff needs to be one of honest integrity, Popp said.“Too often politics becomes a distraction and the goal of effective operation is lost. My plan would be to build this office back up to what it should be, a proud organization with proud members who serve a proud community.”

His six main objectives if elected sheriff would include:

— Address narcotic issues by requesting additional canine officers, continuing to support Drug Court and rehabilitation, and coming down on “those responsible for the poison that is spreading throughout our communities.”

— Add time and resources at schools, and have deputies stop in regularly and be trained in school response, with more in-house training between departments. There are currently no school liaison officers on the sheriff’s department.

–Increase presence of officers on patrol and encourage more community-officer relationships, perhaps through “coffee with a cop,” where officers are encouraged to take breaks in public and converse with business people and citizens they serve.

— Bridge gaps between jail, dispatch, patrol, management and other departments in the public service spectrum, and do this partly by listening to some of the great ideas that are out there.

— Respond to the community’s needs, the entire county, not just one or two areas.

— Remove the politics we have become as an office and get back to the representation people are seeking.

“‘It’s time for a change,’ is what I keep hearing, and if I am elected as your sheriff, I would promise you that change is coming,” Popp said.

He concluded, “I promise to be financially responsible while bringing back some of the services that have been neglected. Giving value to the employee and unifying the office while bringing ‘pride back to the patch’ is something I would strive for while maintaining integrity and discipline within the office.”

Those wishing to contact or support Popp can do so by calling 715-587-2631 or Fredpoppforsheriff@gmail.com.