Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy Invites YOU to “The Law Enforcement Experience” This Spring

Written by Lance Leonhard

Past participants of the Marathon County Sherriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy

Ever wonder what it’s like being a law enforcement officer?

  • What it feels like to disable a car in a high-speed chase?
  • Work as a K9 handler—using your dog to detect drugs and apprehend criminals?
  • Use technology to collect and examine evidence (like fingerprints and computer data) to solve crimes?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy is for you!

The 10-week program combines education and hands-on instruction to give participants a day-in-the-life experience at the Sheriff’s Office. Sessions run 3 ½ hours each and cover all aspects of the work done by our local Sheriff’s Office, including the operation of the jail, the 911 Dispatch and Communication Center, and both the Patrol and Detective Bureaus.

Participants have the unique opportunity to:

  • Drive squad cars and experience firsthand how law enforcement personnel attempt to safely end high-speed pursuits
  • Operate actual firearms used by law enforcement (they’ve been modified to fire plastic pellets or paintball rounds)
  • Observe K9 handlers in training exercises
  • Meet members of the SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), Bomb, and Dive Teams and see some of the equipment they use
  • Learn about sophisticated technologies our communications officers use to dispatch law enforcement officers, fire and rescue personnel, and first responders across Marathon County
  • Dust for and collect fingerprints

The purpose of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy is to give the public a working knowledge of the department’s operation, policies, and procedures.

Nearly 80 people have participated in the Citizen’s Academy since it began in 2014. Here’s what some past attendees have said about the program:

“The experience that I had going through the Academy was fantastic! It allowed me to get a little closer to what our Deputies, Detectives, and others within the Sheriff’s Office go through on a daily basis. The part that I enjoyed most took place on the range, where we had a chance to drive in pursuit of the ‘perp,’ go through the PIT Maneuver and some different scenarios where we attempted to arrest the ‘bad guys and gals.’ I am very thankful to have been allowed to participate in the training and would certainly recommend it.”     —Chaplain Ray Slatton


“The interactive learning brought home to me how little time our patrol deputies and officers have to assess a situation and react to protect the public and themselves. Learning about the various divisions and duties, from accident re-construction to the dive team to the bomb squad to the K9 units helped me understand and grew my respect for the depth of knowledge and abilities of Sherriff’s Department staff.”     —Karyn J. Powers

The Citizen’s Academy is aligned with the mission of the Sheriff’s Office to build trust between the department and the public and to create a partnership to increase the safety and security of the Marathon County community.

Visit the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy webpage to learn more about the program or to download an application and reserve your spot in the next course, which begins in March. (Hurry… Spots fill quickly!)

Questions about the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy can be directed to LT Frank Hanousek at 715-261-1227 or

We also invite you to view this Sherriff’s Department video to learn more about the important work our local Sherriff’s Department does in Marathon County.

Lance Leonard - Marathon County Deputy AdministratorLance Leonhard

Marathon County Deputy Administrator 

Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County government in the Office of Corporation Counsel and currently serves as the Marathon County Deputy Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Email Lance Leonhard

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meetingWe invite you to attend a County Board meeting.

County Board meetings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and typically take place in the Assembly Room of the Marathon County Courthouse. The Board meets twice a month—with the informational meeting on a Thursday evening, and the voting meeting on a Tuesday afternoon.

As part of our mission to build community and to be transparent and accountable to you—the taxpayer—we invite you to attend.

Meeting agendas, details, and video links can be found on the county’s website:

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Watch insightful employee Workstories videos, view county-level employment opportunities, and learn how you can make a difference in our community at the Marathon County Employee Resources webpage.

Smartphone icon.svg adapted image © G. Hagedorn  | 07.14.11  |  CC BY NC-SA 3.0

Meeting image © team.labarna  |  11.14.14  |  CC BY 1.0