Door County, WI

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Door County, Wisconsin is on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Its population is approximately 28,000.  Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county. Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include reverse stings and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. For example, in 2008, the fire chief of a Door County community was arrested and jailed after being caught in an underage-sex-sting operation, and was charged with attempted child enticement and attempted “solicitation of a child for prostitution.” His cash bond was set at $20,000. The criminal complaint alleged the man had expected to rendezvous with a 16-year-old prostitute when arrested night outside a Kaukauna hotel. A state agent had posed as the girl in text-message exchanges setting up the meeting. Agents used a cell phone obtained when a teen who was being sex trafficked  was arrested, and found the suspect’s number on the phone.

In 2013 a reverse sting operation that targeted Internet child sex predators led to the arrests of 16 men in six Wisconsin counties, including Door County. Police had between 1,200 and 1,500 chats with possible suspects during the investigation that ran four days. Officials targeted online ad services as well as social media and other Internet outlets. The arrested men had faced charges including use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime to child enticement, prostitution, and possession of a controlled substance.

In August 2017 a local reverse sting was coordinated with the National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI), which started in Cook County, Illinois in 2011. The 2017 NJSI operation occurred between June 28 and July 31, and involved 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states. The goal was to cut consumer-level demand and therefore lower the number of young women solicited for sex, targeting sex buyers and directing victims to support resources in the community. In September 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice conducted  a summer operation in northern and eastern regions of the state that led to 25 arrests.  The Attorney General announced that the stings targeted people who solicited sex from either trafficked children or prostituted adults, including eight in Door County. The identities of the arrested men were publicly released.

Key Partners

  • Cottage Grove Police Department
  • Dane County Sheriff’s Office
  • Door County District Attorney
  • Door County Sheriff’s Office
  • Eagle River Police Department
  • Juneau County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kohler Police Department
  • Madison Police Department
  • Marshfield Police Department
  • McFarland Police Department
  • Monona Police Department
  • Rock County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheboygan Police Department
  • Sheboygan Falls Police Department
  • Sturgeon Bay Police Department
  • U.S. Marshals
  • Vilas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
State Wisconsin
Type County
Population 27621
Comments are closed.