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Marinette County Jail Population Near Record

Marinette County Jail Administrator Bob Majewski reported at the Monday, Jan. 14 meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee that population at the County Jail is averaging quite high, and that January 2013 average population may eclipse the county’s record for the highest average ever.

Printed reports distributed at the meeting show that since mid-December, jail population has consistently been in the high 120’s, a couple of times surpassing the 130 mark. For December, the daily average was 125.5, the highest December average since the new Law Enforcement Center was opened. Back in 2204, the average December head count was 55.87. The highest monthly average was 130.61 and it occurred in July of 2009, but fell to 114 that year by December.

Majewski attributed the current high head counts to a profusion of drug related offenses and a number of “high bond” inmates. He also noted that in 2012 there were more than 1800 bookings, and that 98 percent of the bookings were people under the influence of something, whether it be drugs or alcohol.

From all appearances, the drug problem in Marinette County and the surrounding area is getting worse by the month, he said. Majewski’s report also showed that the number of boarders in the population averaged only 4.35 for the month, meaning that over 95 percent of the population is home-grown.

The Marinette County Jail has a maximum population of 165, but Majewski explained that the staff of correctional officers has to be extra vigilant when the facility reaches these levels. Placement of inmates also becomes more difficult when the jail reaches these levels because oftentimes several inmates are being held for an individual incident and need to be kept separate at all times.

A “snapshot” of the jail population on Jan. 7, 2013 showed a total head count of 132, broken down to 110 males and 22 females. Five of the boarders 132 were from Oconto County.

Broken down by status, 45 of the inmates had already been sentenced, 17 for felonies and 28 for misdemeanors. Of the 45 who were sentenced, 14 of the sentences were traffic related.

A total of 44 of the inmates were of the pre-sentence status, meaning they were still awaiting trial. Of those 44, 39 were arrested for felony charges, five for misdemeanors.

Six inmates were there for child support related charges and 33 other inmates are housed in Marinette County at the request of the Department of Corrections. And four inmates are there for “failure to pay” related charges.

A further breakdown of “sentenced inmates” at the jail showed that 7 were ondrug charges, 11 for OWI, 6 for Child Support related charges, and 4 each for battery, theft, and fail-to-pay warrants. Others were sentenced for sexual assault, burglary, fleeing and eluding an officer, and ID theft. Many who are sentenced by Marinette County Courts to longer terms do not serve out their sentences in the County Jail, but are instead distributed to the many State Department of Corrections facilities throughout the state.

In other matters connected to the jail, Majewski reported that the new food service company is working out very well and that installation of the enhanced camera/DVD project is in progress. He added that interviews for the Jail Receptionist position will take place very soon.

Communications Director Terry Zimmerman presented his monthly report on the Dispatch Center. The report showed that December was a relatively routine month. The highest numbers of calls were on Dec. 10 and 11, both days surpassing the 200 mark. The low of the month was Christmas Day, with a total of 98 calls. Wireless calls continue to account for over 71 percent of the 911 calls.

Zimmerman explained a recommendation on the agenda which asked to forward to the County Board a request to upgrade the agreement for the NICE digital voice logging system at County Dispatch. The system records all phone calls and radio traffic that come to, from and through Dispatch.

The upgraded software and hardware would prepare the county for the next generation of 911 equipment that would allow Dispatch to receive text messages as well as pictures and video. While most phone companies have yet to upgrade their equipment to handle this type of technology, when they do the County will be ready.

The new software/hardware will cost the County an additional $350 per year, and has worked into the price a buy-out of the remaining one year of the existing contract.

Zimmerman also received approval from the Committee to eliminate one full-time dispatcher position and create an Assistant Communications Director position. Zimmerman explained that currently he is the only manager in the department. An assistant position would allow a manager to be present during nights and weekends and at those times when Zimmerman is unavailable. The position would still require the person to perform dispatch duties on a regular basis.

The additional cost of $4000 to $5000 was already worked into the 2013 budget and had been approved by the County’s Personnel Committee. Zimmerman said he would prefer to hire from within the ranks of existing dispatchers for this position since they are already familiar with the system the county uses and how Dispatch works.

Zimmerman also received approval to rehire a former Dispatch employee at the 24 month step wage. The person had worked in Dispatch for six years and recently accepted a position elsewhere within county government. The person then reposted back to Dispatch when a position became open.

The policy in the County is to drop back to the entry level pay, but Zimmerman pointed out that the person would require no training and could just jump right in. County Administrator Sorensen commented that she supported the pay level because she felt that Dispatch is one of the hardest positions for which to be trained.

Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister updated the Committee on the status of a couple of the grants the county has applied for or has been awarded.

The County received a $10,910 grant for Hazmat Training through Wisconsin Emergency Management Training. The training will involve several people throughout the county who are already certified in Hazmat work.

Burmeister reported he is in the process of closing out the Port Security Grants for years 2010 and 2011. An HOA “Fast Track” grant application was denied, as they were for all of northeast Wisconsin.

As for other activities, Burmeister is assisting in a training activity coming at Bay Area Medical Center. He also explained a state conference he will attend in early February.

Lt. Jim Albright explained the “bid sheet” from the proposal to purchase a 2013 4X4 Four Door Crew Cab truck. The new vehicle will replace the 2008 Ford Explorer that is currently being used as the detective’s unit. The low bid, after trade-in, was from Witt Auto Sales at a final cost of $18,359.07. The bid unit was a Ford F150 XLT. Bids were received from seven different dealers.

The Committee accepted the bid from Witt Auto. Also approved was the only bid from ETS for changeover services of $1,525, which involve things like installing the cage, camera, etc. The Committee approved the vehicle decal bid from Ambrosius Graphics for new vehicles this year at a total cost of $2,606.85.

In a rare move, the Committee had to reconsider the proposal approved last month for the purchase five new 2013 Ford Police Utility Interceptors. The bid had been awarded to the Motor Company of Marinette, but the Motor Company had to withdraw their bid because of errors that would have made the sale untenable for them. After consultation with Corporation Counsel, the Committee approved the next lowest bid, which was from Witt Ford at a unit price of $26,538, or a total price of $132,690.

Sheriff Jerry Sauve reviewed the citation, incident and accident reports for the months of October and November. By far, the largest cause of accidents in the two month period were by deer or other animals, with 72 such accidents reported in October and 114 reported in November. The next highest category of calls were burglary - 34 in October and 36 in November. The two month period also saw the arrests of a total of 18 people for Operating While Under the Influence 1st Offense, three for 2nd Offense; two for 3rd Offense; and 2 for Subsequent Offense. The department also issued 89 speeding tickets in October and November.

The Committee approved turning over $25,125 to Collection Agencies for money owed on Inmate Board accounts. Three budget transfers were also approved from 2012. Two were to cover expenses for training of the new Correctional Officers; the other was for ammunition purchases.




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