Incumbent Barron County District Attorney Angela Beranek announced she will seek her fifth term in the November 2016 election, according to an announcement she released late last week.
Beranek has served as the District Attorney since 2003, when she was appointed by then-Gov. Jim Doyle to fill the vacancy left by former District Attorney Jim Babler, now a county Circuit Court judge.
Beranek said that she brings experience and commitment to the citizens of Barron County.
In addition to 13 years as District Attorney, Beranek prosecuted cases as the Deputy Corporation Counsel for Barron County from 1999 to 2002, and served as the Assistant District Attorney for Washburn and Burnett Counties from 2002-2003.
She is a career prosecutor who has handled every type of case prosecuted in the DA’s office, including such cases as homicides, burglaries, arsons, sexual assaults, drug crimes and operating (a vehicle) while intoxicated.
“Experience is essential to the demands of this office,” Beranek said.
“Our felony caseload has grown significantly in the past 13 years. In 2003 when I took office, we handled 225 felony cases. Last year we prosecuted 590 felony cases.”
The demanding workload was recognized in the 2010-2012 District Attorney Office Workload Analysis prepared by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.
The study determined that the total of full-time prosecutors needed in the Barron County District Attorney’s office is 5.61 positions.
Currently, Beranek has two assistant District Attorney positions.
“While the workload is demanding, working with victims is one of the most rewarding aspects of this position,” Beranek said.
“Helping victims through the process of the criminal justice system, and making sure they are made whole, is important. Restitution is often a large part of making sure victims are made whole.”
In the past nine years, Beranek’s office has collected more than $728,000 in restitution pre-conviction, to ensure that victims receive the money that is owed to them sooner than later.
Beranek said, “There is nothing more rewarding than getting to call a child support parent and tell them we just collected $5,000, $10,000 or $30,000 in back child support from the parent who is supposed to pay it, or getting to call a victim of a burglary and tell them the defendant has paid restitution in full.”
Beranek said that she is also committed to improving the criminal justice system in Barron County. For more than 20 years, she has worked corroboratively with others to find innovative and progressive ways to do justice, keep the community safe, and hold offenders accountable.
She designed the Circuit Court Community Service Program in 1994, helped establish the Domestic Violence Project in 1997, worked with Judge Edward Brunner to create the Barron County Restorative Justice Programs in 1999, served on the Drug Court creation team in 2004, and has been a member of the Criminal Justice Collaborating Council since 2011. In 2014, she worked with Judge Maureen Boyle to establish Diversion Court and Restitution Court.
Beranek cites her involvement in the community as an important attribute in a District Attorney as well.
“A District Attorney needs to be invested in our community,” she said. “We are not only responsible for processing cases presented by the police, but we focus on improving the quality of life for victims, holding offenders accountable and preventing crime, problem solving and building partnerships with citizens in the community.” Beranek said.
Beranek has served on the Barron County Restorative Justice Programs Board in varying capacities since 1999. She is a past President of the Barron County Bar Association and Rice Lake Swim Club, and currently serves as the Rice Lake Warriors All Sports Booster Club President.
She is a guest speaker at the Restorative Justice Programs Victim Impact Panel for OWI offenders, driver’s education students and their parents. She is an active member of St. Joseph Church in Rice Lake, and a volunteer at St. Joseph Catholic School.
Beranek also supports the Barron County Law Enforcement Foundation, Barron County Boys and Girls Club, Benjamin’s House, Disabled Hunters Program, Lakeview Medical Center Hospice Program, Pink Ribbon Advocacy, Rice Lake Hockey Association and Rice Lake Soccer Association. She served on the Rice Lake Area Schools Referendum Vote Yes Committee in 2014 and is a Rice Lake High School Internship Class Sponsor.
“Barron County is not only where I grew up, but where I chose to start my career as a prosecutor and raise my family,” Beranek said.
“I know I am raising my children in the same safe community I grew up in, and I am honored to play a role in making sure Barron County continues to be a safe place to live and a safe place to visit.”
Beranek lives in Rice Lake with her husband, Kurt, and her two children, Katelyn and Zach Holmstrom.