Todd Skarban formally launches sheriff campaign

Suring native stresses local roots, experience

Oconto County Sheriff’s Deputy and K-9 handler Todd Skarban made it official this week: He is running for sheriff.

Skarban, who has had a “Todd Skarban for Oconto County Sheriff” page on Facebook since the beginning of the year, released a formal announcement of his candidacy for the post held the last 16 years by retiring Sheriff Mike Jansen.

“I have spent the last 20 years of my adult life preparing to be your Oconto County sheriff,” he said in his announcement. “I have spent a majority of my career with the Sheriff’s Office following strong role models within Oconto County. Many have played an important role molding me into the man I am today. Some have taught me and coached me; others have supervised me and prayed with me; and, many have impacted me on a personal level, for which I am extremely grateful.”

Skarban grew up and still lives in Suring with his wife, Heather, and two children. He was a student athlete at Suring High School and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he played defensive back. He cited his experience in corrections, municipal policing at Plover and Suring, court security, patrol deputy and K-9 handler, as well as more than a decade working with county elected officials negotiating contracts on behalf of the Oconto County Sheriff’s Deputies Association.

“I firmly believe that when you serve those who serve others, it offers fulfillment in life,” he said. “The true heart of Oconto County lies not in the brick and mortar of the shiny new facilities; but, rather the citizens who live here and embody our shared values.”

As the campaign progresses Skarban said he plans to develop an approach toward the drug epidemic that combines prevention, treatment, and enforcement; a plan for tackling mental health and crisis intervention needs of the county through inter-agency collaboration; and the importance of investing in schools and youth.

“I spent many a years as a protégé of sorts to Oconto County management observing and collaborating with them, yet remaining firmly planted in a canine handler position where my drive and passion for service were most needed,” he said. “From apprehending sexual predators in Oconto Falls, a murderer fleeing Mountain, or using my efficient communication skills to negotiate a peaceful surrender from an armed, drug-addicted teen in crisis, my collective knowledge and experience leaves me uniquely qualified to understand and support the needs of our front-line everyday heroes, while remaining accountable to the taxpaying citizens of Oconto County.”

The announcement sets up a Republican primary for sheriff with Chief Deputy Ed Janke on Aug. 14. No candidates have yet emerged on the Democratic side. Candidates may begin circulating nomination papers on April 15, and they must be filed by 5 p.m. June 1 to be included on the fall election ballot.