Four apply to be next St. Croix County sheriff

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Four western Wisconsin residents will vie to become the next St. Croix County sheriff.

Gov. Scott Walker's office released a list of the applicants for the position Tuesday, May 23, which is being vacated by John Shilts, who is retiring July 14.

The applicants are Somerset residents Brian Erickson and Scott Knudson, Hudson resident Steven Mael and Baldwin resident Dan Van Someren.

Two of the applicants, Knudson and Van Someren, serve as top officials with the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office. Knudson, the department's chief deputy, serves as second in command behind Shilts, while Van Someren is a department captain in charge of the jail.

Erickson is a sergeant with the Wisconsin State Patrol based out of the agency's Eau Claire post.

Mael is a retired Wisconsin Capitol police officer who retired in January 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The appointee will fill the remainder of Shilts' term, which runs until Jan. 7, 2019. Shilts publicly announced his retirement earlier this month, saying personal circumstances hampered him from being able to fully commit to the job for the remainder of the term. He said he won't issue an endorsement in the appointment process, but said a candidate from within the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office would be best suited for the role.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the candidates will first be interviewed by the governor's deputy chief of staff and his appointments director. They'll pass along a recommendation on who should be interviewed by Walker, Evenson said.

Walker will conclude the six- to eight-week process with his decision in time for Shilts' successor to begin July 14.