Farewell to Sheriff Mahoney

MADISON, Wis. — It’s the end of an era for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, as Sheriff Dave Mahoney is set to retire Friday.

News 3 Now had a chance for our final one-on-one interview Thursday before the end of his career in law enforcement. Mahoney has given 41 years to the people of Dane County.

“I started my law enforcement career when I was 19 years old,” he said. “I had to have my mother buy me a handgun so I could go to work.”

Since then, he’s covered a lot of ground as a detective specializing in areas of domestic violence, narcotics and homicide.

Mahoney is quick to deflect praise to those who work under his leadership and takes pride in the men and women who have served Dane County alongside him.

He pushed hard for better treatment for those battling addiction and mental health issues, including his long push for a new jail, where his intentions have always been about humane treatment and compassion.

“In the future we will be prepared to deal with those issues, today from a from a housing standpoint, we’re not,” Mahoney said. “We’re forced to house those people in inhumane conditions and exacerbate the very condition that brought them into jail.”

What’s not lost on the outgoing sheriff is the great challenges facing policing in 21st century America.

“I don’t see what’s occurring as a challenge, I see it as an opportunity,” he said. “There will have to be many changes in this profession, there will have to be some reforms embraced and changes that occur.”

He calls his successor Kalvin Barrett very prepared, and he’ll be aided by what Mahoney calls the very best in law enforcement.

“It’s the people that I’m gonna miss,” he said.

Mahoney said he wasn’t done with law enforcement but says his family is. He’ll move into a new role as Director of Strategy and Support within the Protective Services Division at American Family Insurance, a company he says has given back so much to this community.

Sheriff Barrett’s ceremonial swearing in will take place Monday.