Got your six: Protecting and serving with confidence in Wisconsin

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office strengthens its service through Safe Community grants

It’s always comforting to know that someone—or something—has your back.

In this case, a trio of trusty, compact 4-stroke companions.

In recent years, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in southern Wisconsin has been heavily involved in a long-term, multi-agency project to strengthen communication systems across the county. That included the purchase of three backup generators to eliminate any gaps in this mission-critical work.

“From paging, to communicating, and finally dispatching—it’s all handled now. It’s a really good feeling to know we have backup systems in case of an emergency,” says Sheriff Paul Milbrath.

In Jefferson County, and many others like it, Enbridge has first responders’ backs through our Safe Community program.

Safe Community offers awards grants of up to $7,500 for equipment, training, or education programs to first response organizations near our projects and operations. In 2018, those Safe Community grants surpassed US$1 million—bringing the total since the program’s 2002 inception to US$10.6 million.

For Milbrath, who’s been working in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for nearly four decades, “it all started years ago with training provided by Enbridge to our first responders regarding pipeline safety in Jefferson County,” he says.

“After hearing of the available grants, we’ve since received support from Enbridge in the forms of technology upgrades, grants, and even a vehicle donation in 2018.”

Safe Community First Responder Program

Since its launch, Enbridge's Safe Community program has invested more than US$16.6 million (more than C$21.5 million) in first responder organizations near our pipelines and facilities.

Former Enbridge fleet vehicles were donated to both the Sheriff’s Office and its neighboring law agency to the south, Fort Atkinson Police Department, in the past two years. The vehicles, both Chevy Silverado pickup trucks, help facilitate each organization’s day-to-day operations.

“We use it every day,” said Milbrath. “This was a niche that was in desperate need of being filled.”

Jefferson County holds about 86,000 people, spread across the geographic area between Milwaukee and the state capital of Madison. As a full-service sheriff’s department, Milbrath says the donated vehicle fills a void that likely would not have been possible otherwise.

“We’re so appreciative of the program and our enhanced operations that have resulted because of it,” says Milbrath. “We’d just love if the program continued—not having to fit a vehicle into the budget is a huge weight off of our shoulders.”

In recent months, Enbridge provided online education to first responders in Jefferson County through our Emergency Responder Education Program (EREP), in addition to their regular on-site training.

Dedicating so many years to the safety of Jefferson County—38 and counting—means Milbrath has created deep relationships with many of the residents. However, he says his office has never lost sight of its core mandate.

“I may be their caretaker—but this is their sheriff’s office.”

(TOP PHOTO: Sheriff Paul Milbrath, right, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office accepts a former Enbridge fleet vehicle from technical services supervisor John Schwartz in 2018.)