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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

WISCONSIN -

Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

The meat is donated to food pantries. The hope is to have the program be successful and grow to other parts of the state, and potentially here in the Northwoods.

"It may be that meat processors in Marathon, Lincoln or Langlade County would have no problem with that. But when you get further north, it may be less common for meat processors to handle wild turkeys on a regular basis," said Holtz.

The processors use the breast meat. The DNR is asking hunters to not just donate the scraps.

"Processors will be removing the breast meat from the bird and they'll be grinding it up and making it available at food pantries as ground turkey," said Holtz.

If you want to see a list of the processors, follow the link below.

There are also turkey permits still available. Contact your local DNR office for more details.


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In late February, a Lincoln County Deputy shot and killed a man who was shooting at him.

On Tuesday, the Lincoln County District Attorney said Deputy Sam Steckbauer was justified to use deadly force.

The DA made this decision after an extensive investigation by the State's Department of Justice.

The DOJ released video taken from the squad car footage, police scanner traffic, and a 911 call that helps explain what happened that night.

It started with a call from a nervous driver, and it ended with the death of 40-year-old Shawn Igers.

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PARK FALLS - You won't find store bought eggs or bagels at a new restaurant in Park Falls. 

You'll recognize the sunnyside up eggs, but they don't come from a grocery store. 

None of these ingredients at Valerie Mae's are store bought. 

Owner Jacob Griepentog literally takes fresh ingredients from his family's farm and serves them every day at his restaurant. 

 "The fresh mint. I pick it up and I smell it. And all a sudden my brain is creating dishes I want to eat, and thus I want other people to eat," said Griepentrog. 

Jacob created his not-so-traditional menu using the same mindset his parents have at the family farm.

Curry tree leaves, lemon grass, and fig trees are some of the other exotic plants grown at the family farm.

And at some point, they'll be on the Valerie Mae's menu, too. 

What Jacob can't get at his family's farm, he turns to other local farmers.

"I see 45 days, 50 days, 90 days, 120 days of a farmer's life: wind, rain and weather." 

Jacob says farm to table style dining might be a little intimidating at first, but it's worth a try. 

After all, the menu changes week to week. So if you don't like it, just wait. 

"I spend hours, maybe a week testing them preparing them, whatever the season is." 

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