Sheriff (Ret.), Green Lake County (WI) Sheriff’s Office
Poy Sippi, WI
“The war on drugs has made many people lose faith in the integrity of government. Cops and civilians alike are ready for it to end.”
Sheriff Lance Buchholtz (Ret.) served the Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin for 26 years until his retirement in 2005. Throughout his law enforcement career, he worked his way up, working in dispatch, as a patrol officer, and in the jail. As sheriff for 10 years, he had a broad view of the criminal justice system throughout the county while he was in charge of the county’s 911 center, investigations, patrol, and jail. Lance has special training as a defense and arrest tactics instructor as well as in SWAT and hostage negotiations.
Lance wanted to be a sheriff for as long as he can remember. “Too much TV, I guess,” he laughs. “The sheriff was always the good guy who people could count on, and that’s who I wanted to be.”
Unfortunately, when he became sheriff, he was shocked by the ineffectiveness of the drug units. “For the most part, all of the officers thought that the war on drugs – more accurately, the war on some drugs – was a waste of time, but no one wanted to be the one to speak up,” he says. “The only people arrested were usually the ‘low-hanging fruit’. Some officers even used drugs as an excuse to target minorities for special attention. As a true public servant, I was disgusted.”
Lance was also saddened by the danger that his officers were put in when they made felony drug arrests. “In addition to drug arrests being totally ineffective to help society, it is always very dangerous for the officers involved in felony drug arrests. The money, weapons and fear make for a very bad combination,” he explains.
Lance joined LEAP in 2013 when he decided to be one of the voices speaking up. “It was my sworn duty to uphold the laws of the state of Wisconsin, but the laws must now change,” he says. “The war on drugs has made many people lose faith in the integrity of government. Cops and civilians alike are ready for it to end.”
A fifth-generation farmer, Lance lives with his wife of over 35 years in Wisconsin. He is keeping busy in retirement; in addition to his farming and work with LEAP, he is also a beekeeper and an ordained minister.