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NEWS STORIES

A Behind the Scenes Look at Being a JailerSubmitted: 04/10/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - Last month's inmate attack on a corrections officer in Marathon County raised concerns about safety in our county jails. But it also made us curious about the responsibility of looking after inmates.

Jailers don't do their jobs out in the open like patrol officers. The average person might not know what the job entails unless they know a jailer, or spend a lot of time in jail.

Imagine having a job where nobody but your coworkers are happy to see you.

"Nobody really wants to have contact with you. You have inmates who aren't happy to be here, clearly," says Sandra Ladu-Ives, Acting Oneida County Jail Administrator.

Learning not to take it personally is one of the first lessons for a corrections officer.

"There can be a lot of days where morale gets low because of the activities of inmates," says Ladu-Ives.

These Oneida County jailers say keeping inmates in line is just the beginning of their responsibilities. An officer with the county was recently awarded "Jailer of the Year" for stopping three suicides in as many months. They say you can't accomplish that without building a rapport with inmates.

"We have to have a rapport. You can still remain professional and not get too personal, but at the same time have empathy, have some compassion, and be alert to what's going on," says Daniel Huettl, an Oneida County Corrections Officer.

"There's a lot of people coming in here who are at the lowest point of their life. You have to really be keen to their needs," says Ladu-Ives.

Watching out for an inmate's well-being and treating them with dignity, while keeping vigilant every minute for your own safety, can be a fine line to walk. It's something Marathon County was reminded of last month. One of their officers is still in a coma from an attack.

"You can be standing there talking to somebody one minute and the next minute they hear something that you said or maybe that they didn't want to hear. And that can make someone flip a switch," says Ladu-Ives.

"I teach my officers, my trainees, not to be hyper-vigilant. We don't want them jumping around like a cat on a hot tin roof, but we want them to be relaxed but alert," says Huettl.

It's a big task. With a capacity of 209 inmates, there could be as few as six officers on duty. But balancing watching out for, and keeping safe from inmates is something these officers believe in.

"It's a profession. And it's something that you really have to believe in and really have to have a heart for," says Ladu-Ives.

"I think I can speak for everybody here: we try to send people back out into the community in better condition than we found them," says Huettl.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/27/2015

- A man in Wausau used an eight-month-old baby as a human shield last night. Today, we hear from first responders who helped negotiate the safe recovery of the child.

- A Northwoods fishing guide has grown tired of what seems to be a growing number of drownings across the area. Now, he's working to change the laws to make waterways safer. We'll have a live report from Minocqua.

- And a donation will help the Merrill Police Department keep its K-9 unit safe. We'll tell you why the K-9 first aid kit will help the unit and why it came with an infant diaper. We'll also tell you how you can help other K-9 units tonight on Newswatch 12.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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TOMAH - The troubled Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center will be making changes to address staff shortages.

The VA will be temporarily closing hospital's 11-bed inpatient psychiatric unit.

It has stopped admitting new patients.

The VA's Matthew Gowan believes the two patients currently in the unit likely will be discharged before the September 4th closure.

Any veteran requiring psychiatric treatment will be transferred to VA facilities in Madison and Milwaukee, or to non-VA hospitals.

Tomah VA Medical Center also plans to suspend psychiatric admissions to its residential long-term care facility until additional staff are hired.

The nursing home will continue admitting veterans with non-psychiatric needs.

Hours for the Urgent Care clinic will be permanently reduced.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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IRON COUNTY, MICHIGAN - State troopers in Upper Michigan arrested two people after reports of an explosion and gunfire in Iron County.

It happened around 12:30 yesterday afternoon at a home in Mastadon Township.

The investigation showed two people tried to bring down a structure using fireworks and a large amount of tannerite.

That's an explosive primarily used to make exploding targets.

Commercial grade fireworks, a large quantity of tannerite, and "pipe bomb" type explosives were seized.

Charges are being sought against the two people involved.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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WAUSAU - Wausau police say a man used a baby as a shield when he surrendered to tactical officers following a standoff.

Authorities say police were called to a house Wednesday night on a report of a domestic disturbance. They found a man and woman who were wanted on felony warrants. Capt. Matt Barnes says police had been looking for the couple in order to check on the welfare of an 8-month-old child.

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DES MOINES, IA - Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker says the proper response to the on-air shootings in Virginia is "more sophisticated and challenging" than the gun control measures Hillary Rodham Clinton has proposed.

Clinton said Wednesday outside of Des Moines that if guns weren't so readily available, perhaps carnage like the killings of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by a disgruntled former employee could be prevented.

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WISCONSIN - You can spend a day in the water and help protect Wisconsin waterways this weekend. The Wisconsin River Alliance needs volunteers to find aquatic invasive species. It's for the second statewide AIS Bridge Snapshot Day Saturday.

"We want to pay attention to our streams and creeks in the area here," said Oneida County AIS Coordinator Michele Sadauskas. "We're picking bridge crossings and road crossings just for access. Easy access for people to go down and see if they can find and take a look at any invasive species right in that area. "

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SARATOGA - Search warrants filed in Wood County show the teenager accused of fatally shooting a woman had been dating the victim's daughter who ended a relationship with the boy the day her mother was killed.

Gannett Central Wisconsin Media (http://wrtnews.co/1hIc8TK ) reports the warrants describe the events that led to the death of 47-year-old Theresa Coates at her home in Saratoga Aug. 17.

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