Primary vote likely makes Picknell Graves’ successor

By Kellen Olshefski

Staff Writer

Undersheriff Kurt Picknell will be leading the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department for the next two years, according to unofficial primary election results posted Tuesday night.

Those totals show 6,697 voters cast a vote for the Republican sheriff’s candidates in the primary. Picknell received 5,000 votes in his favor, about 75 percent, while Deputy Ken Brauer received 1,689 votes, or about 25 percent of the vote. A total of eight write-in votes were cast in the election.

Kurt Picknell
Kurt Picknell

With no registered Democratic candidate to oppose Picknell in the November election, it is likely he will assume the Walworth County Sheriff’s position following the general election.

The position will be vacated by Sheriff David Graves, who has served as Sheriff for the past 14 years and announced earlier this year he would be retiring at the end of the current term. Graves endorsed Picknell, who has served as undersheriff for the entirety of Graves’ run as sheriff, for the position.

Picknell, 50, said earlier this month that during his tenure as Walworth County’s undersheriff he has been deliberately preparing for the sheriff’s role, gaining valuable on-the-job experience, furthering education related to the position and extensively involving himself in all branches of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department.

“Serving as a law enforcement officer requires a commitment to the community and the law and I’ve dedicated my career to making Walworth County a safer and better place,” he said.

“Based on my experiences, my dedication and my education, I believe I really have deliberately prepared to effectively lead the office as sheriff.”

Picknell said his 27 years of law enforcement experience has encompassed positions including patrol deputy, corrections officer, special assignment detective and court security deputy.

“And I’ve constantly sought out other assignments during my time including dive team member, SWAT team negotiator, fire arms instructor and, as undersheriff, I supervise all of the divisions of the office through division commanders and provide administrative oversight for the dive team and the SWAT team,” he said.

“I have extensive budgeting responsibilities, and, important to note, I perform the duties of sheriff in his absence, and I’ve done so over the past 14 years.”

Picknell said his goals include keeping the department’s budget balanced, continuing discussions with the community and maintaining a strong relationship with the Walworth County Board of Supervisors to ensure the department can continue to provide professional law enforcement services county-wide. Additionally, Picknell noted he intends to approach the heroin problem in the county with a multi-directional approach, focusing on not only enforcement, but treatment options, to deter trafficking and abuse of the deadly drug.

Brauer ran on a platform of change and transparency for the department.

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