Recreational Enforcement Unit
The Walworth County Sheriff's Office has a long-standing All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Snowmobile Enforcement Unit program. The ever-increasing popularity of these recreational vehicles created the need to enforce the regulations governing these vehicles.
The Walworth County Sheriff's Office has two ATVs and four snowmobiles to enforce state laws and local ordinances governing the operation of ATVs and snowmobiles.
Deputies assigned to these specialized units were chosen from a voluntary list of personnel who are willing to promote rider safety while enforcing the state laws an local ordinances. These specialized units provide the residents of Walworth County the presence of law enforcement on the public and private trails. The goals of the ATV Patrol program include the safe operation of ATVs, compliance with local and state laws, and to provide support services to the various divisions of the Sheriff's Office.
Search & Rescue
The Sheriff's ATV patrol program has been utilized to search for lost or injured persons and rescue assignments throughout the county. The Sheriff's SWAT Team has requested the ATVs to provide support for their operations. The ATVs have also been used to search for suspects and evidence in various cases and weather emergencies.
Deputies volunteer for ATV assignment and must attend an initial intensive training program and a yearly update to remain in the program. The training program includes laws, department policies, maintenance of the ATVs and a safe operations course. ATV patrol deputies operate in 2 person patrol units. The coordinator or designee must attend biannual updates with the DNR, which includes law changes, procedures and available equipment. The coordinator or designee then delivers this training to the deputies at the yearly updates.
ATV patrols are assigned during high traffic and complaint times as well as specific problem areas. A large portion of the patrol time is during the winter months on the frozen waterways of Walworth County.
The ATV patrol program is almost entirely funded by the Wisconsin DNR through a reimbursement program. ATV owner registration fees fund the program. ATVs have the highest number of registrations in Wisconsin, much more than watercraft and snowmobiles. The maintenance, fuel, training, related equipment, and wages are reimbursed by the DNR.
The Sheriff also has a water patrol unit patrolling both Whitewater and Rice lakes. The Water Patrol Unit is specific to these lakes through a contract with the Town of Whitewater.