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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

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ELCHO - If you pass through Elcho, you can't miss the hundreds of Christmas lights as you drive down Highway 45.

The Elcho Christmas staple is all thanks to a couple who spends weeks setting up the display, after they spend most of their time saving lives.

Carl Bloechl and Lissa Iwanoski are both EMTs. Carl is also a R.N. in Antigo.

For four years now, the couple sets up decorations at an office building off of Highway 45 in Elcho.

It takes a couple of weeks and they use their time in between shifts to get the job done.

"We just hope we don't get called. Sometimes we do get called and we just drop it all and leave it out here and go," said Bloechl.

The cold winter weather usually slows down the set up, but this year's warmer weather allowed the couple to enjoy the visitors earlier.

"It makes me feel good inside that they enjoy it too, because it is work," said Iwanowski.

The display will be on until the beginning of next year.

The lights stay on from around 4:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.



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ANTIGO - With one of the coldest days of the season so far, most people probably chose to stay inside Wednesday.

But for people in Antigo it was the perfect day to get outside and cook up some chili.

Antigo held its annual chili cook-off. 

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin Law School has notified more than 1,200 former applicants that they could be at risk of identity theft because the school's database was hacked.

The university says Social Security numbers from 2005 to 2006 applicants were recently compromised. The Law School has taken down the affected server as a result and added a firewall to better protect that data.

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PINE COUNTY - State politicians face a battle over paying for Wisconsin roads. This week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos rode in an ambulance to show just how bumpy some roads are. One Price County woman had a real-life ride over rough roads in an ambulance. 

Not long ago, Sandy Krueger suffered a dislocated shoulder and sprained ankle after falling down a flight of stairs. An ambulance gave Kruger a painful ride over rocky roads to the hospital. Krueger says the EMT driver would even warn her when they were about to hit a "rough spot" in the road. 

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LA CROSSE - The death of a woman initially thought to be the result of a freak accident on a La Crosse County road has now been blamed on her husband.

Forty-six-year-old Barbara Kendhammer, of West Salem, was found critically injured after authorities responded to a car crash Sept. 16. Her husband, Todd Kendhammer, told authorities a pipe fell from a truck as he was driving, broke through the windshield and hit his wife, who died the following day.

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GREEN BAY - Students have left a Green Bay elementary school for the day after a mercury scare.

The students at Lincoln Elementary were dismissed at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the normal time, after being checked for mercury.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/07/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

On this 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we'll take you to a ceremony at D.C. Everest High School in Schofield and discuss possible parallels between today's generation and the generation at the time of Pearl Harbor.

We'll tell you why it's important to prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil even during the winter when the lakes are frozen.

And we'll tell you why President-elect Donald Trump actually ended up with 39 more votes in Langlade County than what were counted on election night.

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

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