VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
Lt. Gerard Ritter II of the Vilas County Sheriff's Office is one of many in the county who wanted to see the new position get approved.
"We finally got that position approved full time," said Ritter. "This position is going to cover snowmobile patrol, boat patrol, ATV patrol. It's going to cover timber theft investigation with the Forestry Department. That's something we haven't addressed over the years in Vilas County."
Along with his other duties, Schneider will enforce firewood cutting regulations. It is illegal to take leftover wood from a logging site without a permit, but timber theft has been a problem in the county without someone working full time to enforce that law. The Forestry Department thinks Schneider's presence will encourage people to comply with regulations.
"I've been the Deputy Sheriff in Vilas County for just shy of 25 years," said Schneider. "I originally went to school down to Stevens Point, where I took up Park and Recreation and Environmental Law Enforcement, so it's kind of a little blessing for me because now I get to go back and actually do what I went to school to do."
Schneider is getting certified so that he can also teach snowmobile safety classes.