On June 6, 1986, Richard R. Schmidt began his career as a deputy with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, and was promoted to Sergeant in 1996. Further promotions included Captain in January 2002, Deputy Inspector in January 2003, Inspector of Detention Services in February 2006, and Inspector/Senior Commander in 2010. On September 1, 2017, Schmidt assumed the role of Sheriff of Milwaukee County upon the resignation of Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
Schmidt led the Police Services Bureau, which included Expressway Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and Airport Security. In 2004, he was named commander of the Detention Services Bureau. This included oversight of correctional officers and medical, clerical, and sworn staff assigned to the Milwaukee County Jail. On January 1, 2009, his responsibilities increased when the Milwaukee County House of Correction in Franklin, the inmate electronic monitoring program, and the Huber community access program were placed under the authority of the Sheriff and became part of the Detention Services Bureau. Additionally, the Detention Services Bureau was expanded to include the Courts Services Division, which assigns deputies as bailiffs for courts located downtown in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, Criminal Justice Facility, and Safety Building; and the Children’s Detention Center in Wauwatosa.
In August 2010, Sheriff Clarke promoted Schmidt to Senior Commander of the agency, and placed him in charge of day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Schmidt has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in Administration, both from Hyles-Anderson, Crown Point, Indiana, and he earned a doctorate from Northland International University. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Executive Management Program, the National Institute of Corrections Executive Excellence program, and the F.B.I. National Academy. He attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for classes in Driving Government Performance, Senior Executives in State & Local Governments, and Mastering Negotiations, and completed training by the Wisconsin Jail Association and National Institute of Corrections-Large Jail Networks.
Professional affiliations include the American Correctional Association, American Jail Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, Badger State Sheriffs’ Association and the Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives Association. Alongside members of the Sheriff’s Office he has volunteered with Wisconsin Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, Shop with a Cop, the Johnetta Borum Christmas party for underprivileged children, and the National Education Association’s Read Across America.