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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Sheriff Reports Busy Labor Day Weekend

Issue Date: September 9, 2020

"We had a tremendously busy weekend," Sheriff Jerry Sauve told the Marinette County Board's Public Services Committee at the start of its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8. He said over the Labor Day weekend officers worked hard 24/7, dealing with extremely heavy traffic, on-road and off-road; assaults; trouble at the jail, and a severe beating, from which, "We could even end up with a homicide if the person doesn't make it!"

He went on to give a staffing report that emphasized the difficulty of getting and retaining good help for law enforcement in today's world.

The county has made an employment offer to a potential corrections officer, after which, "if this person stays," the jail will once again be fully staffed, Sauve said.

There are currently also two deputy positions to be filled, and an officer retirement is coming up on Oct 1, so that position will also need to be filled.

"We're not recruiting and retaining law enforcement personnel like we once were," Sauve declared. Asked by a committee member if the lack of applicants was related to pay or job conditions, Sauve replied, "I think it's where we are in law enforcement today." He felt the pay and benefits are good, but but a career in law enforcement "is not seen as the noble profession it once was."

"It's the work," he went on. "Watch the news. Watch what's happening. There seem to be far less stressful ways to make a living!"

Sauve said when he tested for his position on the Marinette County Sheriff's Department in 1983 there were more than 100 applicants, occupying four classrooms at the old Garfield School. "I never thought I'd get hired," he added. "That's not the case today, It's tough to get applicants."

Medical Examiner Kalynn Van Ermen reported she too has been busy, and agreed with Sheriff Sauve that "traffic was crazy over the weekend."

She confirmed Covid-19 as the cause of death for six cases, and said of the seven suicides for the year to date in Marinette County one was likely related to the Covid-19 layoffs.

Her report showed there were 13 autopsies from January 1 through Aug. 31, and she said seven of them were done within a week and a half period in July.

Through Aug. 31 her office investigated 170 deaths, up from 163 by the same date in 2019. Cause of death is still pending for 10 of those cases, and 134 were determined to be due to natural causes.

There were six deaths from motor vehicles during the first eight months of 2019, compared to two in 2020, one in July and one in August. The number of suicides increased slightly, from five to date last year to seven this year.

There was only one death from an overdose so far this year, down from four by Sept. 1 of 2019. Fire caused two deaths so far this year, one in April and one in July. There have been no deaths due to homicide, off-road vehicles, or hunting incidents.

Present for the meeting were Supervisors Glenn Broderick, Tom Buelteman, Chris Gromala, George Kloppenburg, Gail Wanek, and Chair Ken Keller, all members of the committee; plus Deputy County Clerk Bobbie Borkowski, County Administrator John Lefebvre, Sauve, Van Ermen, Child Support Director Brian Barrette, County Board Chair John Guarisco, and members of the news media.

The list of appropriations included a $1,788.73 donation from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Griffiths that was used to buy Honor Guard uniforms.

By unanimous vote the committee approved writing off a total of $3,504.78 in uncollectable accounts, and to turn over $19,678.70 to the Marinette County Finance Department for collections.

The department had received $539.30 in payments from Finance Systems Collections Agency and $2,988.17 collected by the county Finance Department. Committee members reviewed paid invoices totaling $288,735.44.

Average daily count of jail inmates in July was 116. There were 122 inmates on Aug. 31, up from 100 on that date a year ago, plus eight prisoners out on home monitors.


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