Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Revels campaign moves forward after revelations of plagiarism

Despite a dust up over revelations of plagiarism in a speech, Monroe County sheriff candidate Wes Revels' campaign isn't slowing down.

Revels has admitted he used material in his April 5 announcement speech he found on the website of Kevin Grubb, a 2014 candidate for sheriff in Fredrick County, Maryland. That speech also was posted on Revels' website.

Revels said he was putting together research for his campaign and came across the information on Grubb's website and used it because it coincided with his own views.

"It's my fault that I used that information verbatim," he said. "I should have reworded it in my own words. I understand that and that's all on me."

He said he contacted Grubb and apologized for the matter.

Still, Revels says that doesn't diminish his qualifications for the job, pointing to his 29 years in law enforcement, including a five-year stint as Tomah's police chief and, most recently, chief deputy in Polk County where he also filled in as jail administrator.

In addition, he's worked as an adjunct professor for Viterbo College in its criminal justice program, is a certified instructor for Western Technical College in the law enforcement general studies area, and served six years in the Wisconsin National Guard.

Revels, a 1977 Hillsboro High School graduate, holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration and master's degree in training and organizational development.

He has attended the Northwestern School Police Staffing Command, which is an upper-level law enforcement program, and the FBI National Academy Program.

Revels also has chaired or served on several boards, including Tomah Memorial Hospital, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police, Coulee Region Law Enforcement Executive Group, Monroe County Safe Community Coalition and Tomah Chamber of Commerce.

He is a member of the Rotary Club and is engaged in community volunteer work for Our Town Tomah and Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter.

"I've always looked for opportunities to give back to those people I've served over the years simply because I think that's the right thing to do," he said. "Being sheriff gives me that opportunity to lead an organization whose purpose is providing a quality service to Monroe County."

Revels said he has prepared himself through his education and experience over 29 years to run a multi-million operation. "I've acquired the appropriate qualifications to run the agency in a professional, efficient manner that serves the members of the county well."

He said providing that service is best done through collaboration with others in the justice system and the best use of resources available.

While Revels says drugs are one of the county's main challenges, he believes there should be a distinction made between those profiting off the epidemic and addicts.

"Those profiting from the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics need to be held accountable because they create an enormous amount of victims," he said.

On the other hand, Revels thinks addiction should be addressed through restorative justice and public health programs with the goal of making addicts successful members of society.

"There may be cheaper alternatives that are more appropriate than incarceration," he said.

Revels said he would emphasize wellness, training and professional development for the sheriff's department. That includes the jail, which he calls the area of biggest concern because it is where the county is exposed to its greatest liability.

"Jailers shouldn't be treated as lesser members of the organization," he said. "They need quality training, good supervision and good operational policies and procedures."

Revels also said he would assess and build on current programming for inmates to look for opportunities to keep recidivism rates down. In that same vein, he wants to reestablish the community service program, which was scrapped several years ago after a supervisor was caught sexually abusing inmates in the program.

"It's important we give (inmates) the opportunity to give back to the community," he said.

Revels said he also would concentrate on school safety for all the districts in Monroe County, including Sparta and Tomah, enhance security at the Justice Center, and disseminate information to the public through better media relations.

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