50-year-old Verona man makes big career change - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

50-year-old Verona man makes big career change

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A 50-year-old Verona man took a leap of faith by making a big career change to join law enforcement.

William Schmitt was one of seven new Dane County Sheriff's deputies sworn-in Monday.

"It's a complete change from what I've done in the past," said Schmitt, who left his 20-year career as an agricultural researcher at UW-Madison. "I liked the idea of giving back to the community."

About a year ago, Schmitt was convinced to swap careers after speaking with a friend in law enforcement.

"[He] told me I might want to think about hooking up with the sheriff's department," Schmitt said. "As the process went along, I thought more and more about it and became more excited."

Schmitt says, initially, he left his family in dark about his decision.

"I didn't really tell them about [the decision] until the process was pretty much over," said Schmitt. "I didn't get any surprises that you might expect...they were all very supportive."

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney welcomes Schmitt's career change.

"Bill comes to us with proven leadership skills and proven knowledge," said Sheriff Mahoney. “It doesn't mean that you have to have a criminal justice background, it means having life experiences and coming to this profession or being called to a profession of service even later in life.”

Training for Schmitt and the other six deputies will begin in August.

"If there's something you think you might want to do, try it," said Schmitt.

All of the newest deputies will be in the Dane County Jail for their first assignment, where they will serve a two-year probationary period.

The newest Dane County deputies are:

· Angela Bock, age 21 of Beaver Dam

· William Clemons, age 34 of Fitchburg

· Landon Farber, age 26 of DeForest

· Megan Pelley-Yahn, age 40 of Stoughton

· William Schmitt, age 50 of Verona

· Nathaniel Teuscher, age 22 of Madison

· Carrie Tobias, age 23 of Madison

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