No one has worked harder -- and smarter -- to keep the peace in Madison during the dispute over Governor Scott Walker's attempt to crush public employee unions than Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
A veteran lawman  who came up through the ranks of the sheriff's department in the state's second- largest county before being elected sheriff in 2006, he's hugely popular in the capital county -- winning re-election in 2010 with 71 percent of the vote. He's also hugely respected, as a key contributor to the work of the Governor's Council on Domestic Violence, the Governor's Council on Wisconsin Homeland Security, the Wisconsin Supreme Court Task Force on Mental Health and Criminal Justice System, Wisconsin law-enforcement groups and the National Sheriff's Association.
That respect has served Sheriff Mahoney as he has worked long hours to help coordinate the response of various law-enforcement agencies to demonstrations that have attracted over 100,000 people, round-the-clock sleep-ins and sit-ins at the state Capitol and even clashing rallies between a small Tea Party contingent and a very large union crowd.
There has been no serious violence, no serious destruction and no serious arrests.
So you would think that Governor Walker and his aides--as well as their media echo chamber -- would be hailing Sheriff Mahoney.
Of course, you would think wrong.
Sheriff Mahoney's determination to preserve the peace, protect demonstrators and officials and respect basic liberties has earned him the scorn of those who are calling for an aggressive crackdown on dissent.