Wisconsin Professional Police Association

Serving Wisconsin's Finest Since 1932

Staff

Todd Hoover   |   President

Todd Hoover is an officer with the Racine Police Department, where he has served for more than 20 years. He was elected to the WPPA board in 2005, became Treasurer in 2012, and has served as the President since September of 2016. 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

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Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax 608-273-3904

Jim Palmer is responsible for the development, promotion, and operations of the WPPA. In addition to serving as the organization’s chief executive, he is also the WPPA’s spokesperson, chief legal counsel, and chief lobbyist. He also administers the WPPA’s Extended Legal Protection Plan (ELPP). Jim currently serves on the governing boards for the National Association of Police Organizations; National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc.; Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group; Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council; and Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants. He is also the chief executive officer for the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Museum of Valor. Following the election of Tony Evers as Wisconsin’s 46th governor in 2018, Jim was appointed to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy Advisory Council. In 2020, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appointed Jim to the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was established to address racial disparities, educational opportunities, public safety, and law enforcement policies and standards.

Jim is a frequent public speaker on a wide range of legal topics and public policy matters related to policing as well as labor and employment law. In addition to presenting to audiences such as the National Institute of Justice, Major Cities Chiefs Association’s Police Executive Leadership Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, National Association of Police Organizations, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service, Wisconsin Field Training Officers Association, Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, Wisconsin City/County Management Association, and University of Wisconsin Law School, Jim has also conducted law enforcement executive training for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He has appeared on national television news network programs such as “Dateline” (NBC), “Good Morning America” (ABC), “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “Anderson Cooper 360” (CNN), “America’s Newsroom” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto” (FOX News Channel), “America Tonight” (Al-Jazeera America), and “BBC World News” (World TV News Channel), to name a few. Jim’s written commentaries have been featured in all of the major newspapers in Wisconsin—as well as the San Francisco Chronicle, POLITICO Magazine, and The Crime Report. In 2015, his invited testimony was highlighted in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

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.

Jean Steinhauer   |   Director of Administration & Finance

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Jean’s responsibilities include all aspects of financial management, including internal control, budgets, payroll, investments, financial statements, and reporting to governmental agencies and the WPPA’s governing board. Jean also manages human resources and IT and supervises administrative staff.

 

 

Jean’s more than 35 years of accounting experience is varied, including public, investment, and non-profit accounting. She joined the WPPA as a staff accountant in 2005, became the Director of Finance in 2008, and has served as the organization’s Director of Administration & Finance since 2014. Jean earned her accounting degree and CPA certificate from the University of Illinois.

Roger W. Palek   |   Director of Legal & Field Services

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

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.

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.

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.

Randy Ingram   |   Field Services Coordinator

Phone: 715-482-3352 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Randy has worked 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 member of the Grievance Committee. Randy predominantly represents WPPA members in North Central and Northern Wisconsin.

Randy 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. Randy is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Andrew D. Schauer   |   Senior Staff Attorney

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

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

 

 

Andrew hails from Watertown, Wisconsin, and graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee. After 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, Andrew worked as an Intern District Attorney in the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.

Following law school, Andrew 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, Andrew previously 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.

Andrew  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.

Luann Alme   |   Business Agent

Phone: 414-659-0383 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Prior to joining the WPPA in 2010, Luann 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. Luann represents WPPA members in South Central and Southwestern Wisconsin.

Mike Backus   |   Business Agent

Phone: 715-878-4803 • Fax: 715-878-4803

Mike 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 department’s Tactical Team and as the association president and vice president for numerous years. Mike also served in the Wisconsin National Guard and represents members in Central and West Central Wisconsin.

Rich Burghaus   |   Business Agent

Phone: 715-965-5332 • Fax: 715-965-5332

Rich retired from law enforcement after a 27-year 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. Rich has been representing WPPA members in Northwest Wisconsin since 2015.

John Dillon   |   Business Agent

Phone: 414-303-5654 • Fax: 608-273-3904

John 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, serving 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. John semi-retired in 2015 and now works on a part-time basis on comparative data and representing some of our smaller association affiliates.

Michael S. Goetz   |   Business Agent

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Mike began his career with the WPPA in 2004 and left for a brief stint as a staff representative for AFSCME Wisconsin Council 40 in 2008. He returned to the WPPA as a business agent in 2010, representing our members in Central Wisconsin. 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, he served in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm. Mike has a bachelor of science degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Law Enforcement from Upper Iowa University.

Brent Hart   |   Business Agent

Phone: 414-331-9519 • Fax: 262-662-4103

Brent graduated with a Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1988 and started his policing career at the Town of Brookfield and Berlin Police Departments, then joined Greenfield Police Department, serving as a police officer and detective, as well as union president. He joined the WPPA as a Business Agent in 2015 and represents WPPA members in Southeast Wisconsin.

Jim Schumitsch   |   Business Agent

Phone: 414-810-0920 • Fax: 414-810-0920

Jim 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. Additionally, Jim served on the WPPA’s Board of Directors for 7 years, sitting on the Board’s Finance, Personnel, and Legislative Committees. He currently represents WPPA members in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Thomas Schrank   |   Business Agent

Phone: 920-246-6191 • Fax: 920-632-4929

Tom enjoyed a 39-year career in law enforcement, beginning with the Montello Police Department in 1979, followed by 20 years with the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and 17 years with the DePere Police Department. He spent more than 27 years working as a sensitive crimes Detective Sergeant, and he worked as a Crisis Negotiator for both Marquette County and the Brown County Joint Law Enforcement Crisis Negotiation Team. Tom’s background also includes working as a family court mediator and forensic interviewer. Tom joined the WPPA in August of 2018 and represents WPPA members in Eastern Wisconsin.

 

Prior to his retirement from law enforcement, Tom was an active local union leader. He previously served as the President for both the Marquette County Deputy Sheriffs Association and the DePere Police Benevolent Association. Tom still serves as the President of the Bay-Lakes Area Soccer Association for Youth, and he is the Head Coach of the Green Bay East High School Girls Soccer Program. He enjoys running, hunting, fishing, camping, drawing, and photography.

Kevin Sorenson   |   Business Agent

Phone: 715-581-0553 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Kevin became a member of the WPPA’s field staff in 2020 after serving more than 30 years in a variety of law enforcement roles. Following his honorable discharge from the United States Army where he served as a Military Police Officer, Kevin went on to work for the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, Marshfield Police Department, Mosinee Police Department, and finally, the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, where retired as a Patrol Sergeant in 2016. His diverse experiences as a patrol officer, deputy sheriff, patrol sergeant, and jail administrator have given Kevin extensive experience in areas such as traffic crash reconstruction, defense and arrest tactics, and crisis negotiation—among others.

In addition to serving in a variety of leadership roles within his own local association, Kevin was an active member of the WPPA Board of Directors from 2004-2012 and its President from 2012-2016. He primarily represents WPPA members in Southcentral Wisconsin.

Jeryl Vonderheid   |   Business Agent

Phone: 715-839-9986 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Jeryl retired from the Eau Claire Police Department after 28 years in Law Enforcement. He served as a union board member, which included 6 years as treasurer and 6 years as president. Jeryl also served on the WPPA’s governing board for over 10 years. An Army Veteran, Jeryl started representing WPPA members in Central and Northwest Wisconsin in 2014.

Julie Neeley   |   Office Manager

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Julie 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. Julie also provides support to the WPPA’s Executive Director, its governing board—as well as the Awards, Scholarship, and Legislative Committees. She is certified as a Legal Secretary by Colorado State University and provides support to the WPPA’s Legal Services personnel.

Sarah Cowen   |   Administrative Assistant

Phone: 608-273-3840 • Fax: 608-273-3904

Sarah joined the WPPA in July 2019 and has over 10 years of non-profit administrative assistant experience. She received her administrative professional and meetings and events management degrees from Madison College. In addition, she served as a Military Police specialist in the U.S. Army National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom.