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Dirty Trick Alleged in Sheriff’s Race

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (CN) - The Democrat running for sheriff of Door County claims the incumbent Republican sheriff sent him far away, to a 3-month "Basic Recruit Academy," from which he graduated 18 years ago, to get him out of the county during the campaign. William Oakley, a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, sued Sheriff Terry Vogel in Federal Court.

Oakley claims Vogel sent him to Basic Recruit Academy so that he could not campaign during the work week.

Oakley took 45 percent of the vote running against Vogel in 2006, and announced shortly thereafter that he would run again in 2010.

Oakley says he completed the academy in 1992 and that, according to the school's website, it "is specifically designed for potential law enforcement officers in need of meeting Wisconsin certification requirements."

Oakley says he did request a new patrol position, but he is already certified by the state - the only one in his class who is - and says Vogel sent him away to interfere with his campaign.

Oakley says another officer who requested a similar patrol position was sent to a Field Training Program that is much closer and more appropriate to the position change.

There was also a multi-day test known as "Contingency Training" and another multi-day "test-out" course that were options. But Oakley says Vogel sent him hundreds of miles away, to classes in Appleton, go get a political edge.

Because of the distance, Oakley says, he has to stay in a hotel room Monday through Friday - while will cost the Sheriff's Department $10,000 and make it "effectively impossible for [him] to run a meaningful campaign during non-working hours."

Oakley claims Vogel "is using his position as sheriff to gain an improper electoral advantage over plaintiff and to deprive voters of a meaningful electoral choice." Oakley says, "In-person campaigning is uniquely critical to a meaningful campaign for a countywide electoral office in Door County," which is rural and sparsely populated.

He seeks an injunction to be removed from the Basic Recruit Academy and a declaration that his civil rights have been violated. He is represented by Robert Friebert with Friebert & Finerty of Milwaukee.

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