Staff bios

Todd Hoover – President
Todd Hoover is an officer with the Racine Police Department, where he has served for more than 20 years. Prior to being elected the WPPA’s President in September of 2016, Todd served on the organization’s statewide Board of Directors since 2005 and has its Treasurer since 2012.  Todd continues to be an active member of the Racine Police Association, where he has spent more than 15 years on its Board of Directors and more than 10 years as its President.   

James L. Palmer, II – Executive Director| Contact
Palmer Headshot 2017Jim Palmer is responsible for the development, promotion, and operations of the WPPA. He is also the organization’s spokesperson, general counsel, and chief lobbyist. Jim currently serves on the governing boards for the National Association of Police Organizations, Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, and Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council. He is also the president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants and the chief executive officer for the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Museum of Valor.

Jim is a frequent public speaker on a wide range of legal topics and public policy matters related to policing, including law enforcement’s use-of-force, critical incident investigations, police reform, political action, as well as labor and employment law.  In addition to presenting to audiences such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s Police Executive Leadership Institute, National Association of Police Organizations, Wisconsin Field Training Officers Association, Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, and University of Wisconsin Law School, Jim has conducted law enforcement executive training for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.  Jim has also been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America; CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360Erin Burnett OutFront, and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer; FOX’s America’s NewsroomYour World with Neil Cavuto, and On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren; MSNBC’s The Ed Show; and Al-Jazeera America’s America Tonight, to name a few.  Jim’s written commentaries have appeared in all of the major newspapers in Wisconsin, the San Francisco Chronicle, POLITICO Magazine, and The Crime Report, an award-winning criminal justice news and research website based at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.  Additionally, Jim’s invited testimony was highlighted in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2015.

Jim received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review. Jim is admitted to practice law before all state and federal courts in Wisconsin, and he is an active member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists. A native of Wausau, Jim currently resides in Sun Prairie with his wife, Elizabeth, and their four children.

Jean Steinhauer – Director of Administration & Finance | Contact
Jean Steinhauer joined the WPPA in 2005. She earned her accounting degree from the University of Illinois in 1983, and passed her CPA exam in 1989. A certified nonprofit financial professional, her 20 years of accounting experience is varied, including both public and investment accounting.

As the WPPA’s Director of Administration & Finance, her responsibilities include all aspects of financial management, including payroll, financial statements and budgeting, along with organizational strategic planning and human resources management.

Gary Anderson – Director of Membership Services | Contact
Gary has been employed by the WPPA since April of 2006. He came to the WPPA with a background in law enforcement, and his career has spanned a period of 33 years. He began his employment as a police officer for the Stoughton Police Department in 1973, and he retired from the Dane County Sheriff’s Department as a Sergeant in 2006.

Gary has had a great deal of experience working with unions throughout most of his career. He started as a union steward for the Stoughton Police Department, and later represented the members of the Dane County Sheriff’s Supervisors Association from 1986 until 2006. During the last ten years of his career, he served as the president of his association. He served on the WPPA Board of Directors for two years as well.

Gary served as a WPPA Business Agent from 2006 until the beginning of 2013, when he was named the organization’s Associate Director of Membership Services. In this new capacity, Gary manages the WPPA’s field staff employees, and is directly involved and oversees the union’s mediation and arbitration advocacy.

Andrew D. Schauer – Attorney | Contact
Andrew Schauer hails from Watertown, Wisconsin, and graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee. After a year working as a legal assistant at a non-profit public interest law firm in Seattle through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, he obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Law School. During that time, he worked as an Intern District Attorney in the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.

Schauer then worked as plaintiff’s side labor and employment attorney, protecting the rights of employees by representing them in discrimination, family and medical leave, wage and hour, and unemployment insurance matters. In that position, he also represented labor unions, including the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 9, which represents over 700 professional employees. In addition to his duties as an attorney, Schauer has served as a Commissioner and as Vice President of the Milwaukee City Services Commission, which oversees discipline, discharge and residency issues of Milwaukee’s non-police and fire employees.

Since joining WPPA’s legal staff in February of 2007, Schauer has continued to fight for the legal and contractual rights of working people representing our members in a variety of legal and administrative forums.  His legal representation of WPPA members has included significant experience in critical incident investigations, use-of-force cases, and a diverse range of other legal matters.  In addition to conducting legal presentations to WPPA members at the organization’s annual conference, Schauer has conducted law enforcement executive training for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

Schauer is an active member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Labor and Employment Relations Association, the Wisconsin Employment Lawyers Association, as well as the Loyal Order of Moose.

Roger W. Palek – Staff Attorney | Contact
After growing up on a farm near Lansing, Michigan, Roger received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Central Michigan University. He later graduated cum laude from the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. Roger first came to Wisconsin in 1993 to work for the regional affiliate of the state’s largest teachers union in Appleton. As the WEAC-Fox Valley Executive Director, Roger was responsible for advising and counseling local union leaders and members, negotiating numerous local contracts, processing grievances and arbitrations, and coordinating political action efforts. Roger left WEAC-Fox Valley in 2006 and joined the Madison law firm of Lawton & Cates S.C.  He joined the WPPA staff in 2008.

Roger has counseled countless law enforcement groups and officers from across the state in a variety of matters, including critical incident investigations, use-of-force cases, discipline, and departmental policy and development. In addition to conducting numerous legal presentations to officers at the WPPA’s annual conference and for the National Association of Police Organizations, Roger has conducted law enforcement executive training for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

He has been an active volunteer and supporter to a variety of charities including the Humane Society, the United Way, Harbor House, and the American Red Cross where he served as Board Chairperson from 2001-03. Roger was also an enthusiastic supporter of the theatre and the arts while living in Appleton and now in the Madison area. Roger now lives in Waunakee with his wife and two children. 

Luann Alme – Business Agent | Contact
Luann Alme began working for the WPPA in September 2010. Prior to employment with the WPPA, Alme was with the City of Stoughton for 19 years, most recently as the City Clerk/Personnel Director where she was involved in all aspects of personnel management, including benefit administration and collective bargaining. Alme is based out of Stoughton and represents WPPA members in South Central and Southwest Wisconsin.

Mike Backus – Business Agent | ContactMIKE WORK PHOTO
Mike Backus joined the WPPA in August 2015 after serving more than 23 years with the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office. During his time with the Sheriff’s Office he held positions in the jail, patrol and detective divisions. He served as a member of the departments Tactical Team and as the association president and vice president for numerous years. He served in the Wisconsin National Guard and represents members in central and west central Wisconsin.

Rich Burghaus – Business Agent | Contact
Rich Burghaus retired after a 27-year law enforcement career, the last 22 of which were spent with the Medford Police Department. Rich also has several years of leadership experience as the president and secretary of his local association, and as a member of its bargaining committee as well. Rich and his wife reside in Medford and he joined the WPPA’s field staff on October 1, 2015.

John Dillon – Business Agent | Contact
John Dillon began representing WPPA members in January 2000. From 1979 to 1999, he worked for the Waukesha Police Department as a patrol officer until promoted to Detective in 1988. John held a position on the bargaining committee for 18 years. He served as the chairman and spokesman of the committee in negotiations with the City of Waukesha. He has attended a Human Resource Management Course offered by Marquette University as well as training offered by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. In 2015 John reduced to part-time working on comparison data and representing some of our smaller groups.

Michael S. Goetz – Business Agent | Contact
Mike has worked for the WPPA since June 2010. He previously served the WPPA’s members as a business agent from 2004 through 2008, when he accepted an offer to serve as a staff representative for AFSCME Wisconsin Council 40. Mike returned to the WPPA to serve as a business agent in 2010, and began in his current capacity in January of 2013.

Mike’s law enforcement background includes employment as a police officer with the Evansville Police Department from 1991 to 2004, and with the Milton Police Department from 1992 to 1997. In addition, Mike served our country in the military in Operation “Desert Storm,” and has a bachelor of science degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Law Enforcement from Upper Iowa University.

Brent Hart – Business Agent | Contact
Brent Hart joined the WPPA as a Business Agent in April, 2015. Brent retired from the Greenfield Police Department after serving close to 26 years as a police officer and detective. He served four years as president of the Greenfield Police Association. Brent started his policing career at the Town of Brookfield and Berlin Police Departments after graduating with a Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1988. Brent is representing WPPA members in Southeast, Wisconsin.

Randy Ingram – Business Agent | Contact
Randy Ingram has worked with for the WPPA since June 2002. His law enforcement background includes employment as an E911 Telecommunicator, Corrections Officer, and Deputy Sheriff with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department from March 1993 to June 2002. In addition, he served on the Oneida County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Board of Directors, as both the Chairman of the Bargaining Committee and Grievance Committee member.

Ingram served in the United States Air Force from October 1983 to June 1992, and in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College and an A.A.S. in Police Science from Nicolet Area Technical College. He lives in Sugar Camp and serves on the Board of Education for the School District of Three Lakes and as the Assistant Chief on the Sugar Camp Volunteer Fire Department. Ingram is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Jim Schumitsch – Business Agent | Contact
Jim Schumitsch joined the WPPA’s field staff in early 2013 after more than 22 years as an officer with the West Allis Police Department. Jim served on his local association’s board for over 17 years as Trustee, Secretary, Vice-President, and for the last 12 years of his career, as its President. He was an active participant on numerous bargaining committees, and several by-laws committees as well. Additionally, Jim served on the WPPA’s Board of Directors for 7 years, also sitting on the Board’s Finance, Personnel, and Legislative Committees.

Jerry Tomczak – Business Agent | Contact
Jerry Tomczak is a Wisconsin native and former Lieutenant with Madison Police Department. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jerry served on the Board of Directors for the Madison Professional Police Officers Association. He served on the executive board and was grievance officer and has a wealth of experience in working with administrations and negotiating collective bargaining agreements. Jerry represents members in south west and south central Wisconsin.

Jeryl Vonderheid– Business Agent | Contact
Jeryl Vonderheid retired from the Eau Claire Police Department after 28 plus years in Law Enforcement. He served as a Union board member, helped negotiate numerous contracts, served 6 years as treasurer and 6 years as president. He served on the WPPA Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is an Army Veteran. In June 2014, he started representing WPPA members in Central and Northwest Wisconsin.

Julie Neeley – Office Manager | Contact
Julie Neeley has been with the WPPA since June 1993. In December 2007, she was promoted to the position of Office Manager and Editor of the Wisconsin Police Journal. In addition, she coordinates the Annual Convention each year. Neeley also provides support to the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the Awards, Scholarship, and Legislative Committees. Neeley is certified as a Legal Secretary by Colorado State University and provides support to the WPPA’s Legal Services personnel.

Lori McDougall – Administrative Assistant | Contact
Lori began with the WPPA in February of 2008 as a Receptionist, and now serves as an Administrative Assistant with the organization. She has experience working within corporate, small business and non-profit establishments in areas of reception, finance, human resources and sales. Lori currently oversees front desk operations while providing clerical assistance to our members and staff.

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