Contact 6: Law enforcement association telemarketing investigation

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- You get a call at home asking you to support your hometown law enforcement association. Before you give, do you know the ONE important question to ask?

Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt called Contact 6’s Katrina Cravy after businesses in his area called him.

"That kind of dishonesty, I couldn't watch it go on anymore," Sheriff Schmidt said.

Washington County recorded one of the calls.

Business Owner: "Can I speak to Deputy O'Malley please?”

Telemarketer: “This is Shaun. Who's this?”

Except “Shaun” is not a deputy. He’s a telemarketer calling on behalf of Wisconsin County Police Association. It represents 3200 Sheriff's employees around the state, and while it does charitable work and lobbies on behalf of its members, those who donate might be surprise to learn how much actually benefits the organization.

For every dollar donated, the WCPA gets 15 cents. The telemarketing company gets the rest.

"Law enforcement needs to clean this up. We are all losing face. This is not the integrity level we need to be at. It needs to be corrected," Schmidt said.

Executive Director of WCPA, Bob Wierenga, disagrees. Wierenga is also a deputy with Walworth County and says if they didn’t hire telemarketers they wouldn’t have any money.

"The sad part is none of us like it, but all of us know that without that 15%, we wouldn't do what we are doing," Wierenga said.

Schmidt says then they shouldn’t be doing anything at all -- especially when the callers are lying.

The telemarketing company says the employee who make the recorded call has been terminated for lying.

FOX6's Contact 6 says: next time you get a call, ask the one question that will force the caller to fess up.

Business Owner: (Laughs) "How long have you been on the department?"

Telemarketer: "Actually, actually I'm not a sheriff. That's why I said 'this is Shaun' when you said, 'Is this a deputy?'"

Business Owner: "Oh you're not a deputy?"

Telemarketer: "No No."

Some deputy associations raise funds themselves. If you want to make sure that more of your donation goes to actual officers, be sure to ask before you give.

Contact 6 called deputy associations around our area and asked “Do you use telemarketing companies?”

Kenosha County: No response
Milwaukee County: No
Ozaukee County: No response
Racine County : No
Sheboygan County: No
Walworth County: Yes
Washington County: No
Waukesha County: Yes