Kenosha sheriff candidates plan to tackle mental health if elected

KENOSHA, Wis. – For the first time in two decades, voters in Kenosha County will not see David Beth’s name on the ballot.

The county’s four Republican candidates face off in Tuesday’s primary to see who will be on the ballot in November.

TMJ4 News residents said mental health is a top law enforcement priority in the community.

“Honestly, mental health is very important because everyone, at some level, suffers from it,” said Kenosha resident Logan Rocha.

From an uptick in violent crime to trends involving deadly drugs, Kenosha voters say the county’s big problems often stem from mental health crises.

“I moved here 14 years ago and saw things get worse,” said Kenosha resident Christina Superits.

In a community still highly sensitive to law enforcement following the 2020 unrest, the four sheriff candidates are ready to address mental health. They are Kenosha Police Officers Tyler Cochran and Albert Brian Gonzales, Kenosha “Deputy Friendly” Ray Rowe and Kenosha Sargent David Zoerner. We asked the candidates about their plans if elected.

On mental health, Cochran says training staff to deal with mental health issues is the way to build Kenosha County for the future.

“If you reach out and have a mental health crisis, you’re more or less treated like a criminal. I want to get away from that,” Cochran said.

Zoerner agrees and says the focus on drug use is a priority in his campaign.

“Our overdoses are almost double the national average,” he said.

From the streets to prisons, Zoerner says mental health must be addressed first.

“We have to run the prison, there’s a lot of mental health to focus on in our prison,” he said.

Rowe says he would focus on making sure MPs have the training they need to tackle the issues.

“I would love to have mental health professionals come to our annual meetings and brief our deputies on how to handle mental health situations,” Rowe said.

TMJ4 News contacted Albert Brian Gonzales, but did not hear back by the deadline. According to his campaign page, he says as sheriff he would dedicate a program to the health and well-being of MPs, staff and their families and ensure that drug addicts receive the care they need to successful recovery from addiction.

Four candidates all say they are focused on keeping Kenosha safe, crime reduction and community well-being.

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