I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year traveling between Appleton and Manitowoc as part of my research into the leadership at the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. A number of people have suggested that the agency’s problems start at the top.
From 2007-2016, more than 100 employees answered to Sheriff Rob Hermann, who rounded out his inner circle with Undersheriff/Inspector Gregg Schetter and Hermann’s own younger brother Todd Hermann, as Deputy Inspector of Operations. The three go way back – the two men who promoted Todd Hermann to third in command and handled all of Todd’s job reviews during the past decade both served as groomsmen in Todd’s wedding party in 1993 when Todd married Shelby Prigge.
Todd consistently received “Exceeds Job Requirements” in his performance reviews. “Todd is very skilled at anticipating possible problems and resolving them before they become critical,” Schetter wrote. “He applies exceptional information gathering and analytical skills to even the most difficult problems.”
Fourth in command has been Andy Colborn, lieutenant of detectives. His reviews are handled by fellow detective, Dave Remiker, a lifelong Manitowoc County resident from Mishicot.
In 2016, Remiker gave Colborn an overall job review that Exceeds Job Requirements for 2015.
“What has been said about Lt. Colborn is completely and one hundred percent unsubstantiated,” Remiker wrote last year. “There are not enough words to describe how well Lt. Colborn handled all of the attention. Many others could have very easily allowed the threats to affect them personally and professionally. This was not the case with Lt. Colborn.”
“Despite what is being reported in the ‘news,’ I feel my ethics and honesty are my best attribute,” Colborn wrote. “I will continue to serve this agency and this community to the best of my ability.”
On the subject of report writing: “I would be willing to commit that Lt. Colborn is probably one of if not the most thorough report documenting individual in this department,” Remiker wrote in Colborn’s job review ending 2014. “Lt. Colborn’s documentation of his path to information is nearly unteachable.”
“I cannot think of any training required or needed at this time,” Remiker wrote of Colborn. “The analogy of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks is all that needs to be said about this evaluation.”
In his self-evaluation, Colborn noted, “While some cases were not prosecuted, the ones that were involved the defendant(s) being found guilty each and every time.”
Over the past decade, Colborn has taken initiative to place several special recognition reports into Remiker’s personnel file. Remiker – who is my age 44 – got into the department’s ride-a-long program and became a reserve deputy during his late teens. He was hired shortly thereafter. Back in 1996, Sheriff Tom Kocourek informed Remiker, then 23, that he was their Law Enforcement Officer of the Year recipient. In November 2006, three months before Avery’s murder trial, Colborn gave Remiker a special recognition report for assisting on a sexual assault investigation -Case #2006-08196.
“Dave, we rely on you constantly, yet you never disappoint,” Colborn wrote. “I appreciate that you are willing to work as a team with anyone and thank you for the tireless effort on this case!”