ANTIGO - More than 50 people met Saturday morning for a Langlade County Sheriff's Office drug presentation in Antigo.
The focus was on synthetic drugs, specifically bath salts, and their impact in the community.
Langlade County Sheriff's Office Drug Investigator Dan Bauknecht emphasized the physical impact of using bath salts.
He says the mood swing caused by synthetic drug can shift from friendly to violent in an instant.
It's something that puts users, family members and police in danger.
Police say that's because the bath salts essentially overload your nervous system. Mood swings can last for hours.
Bauknecht sees that more often when they arrest users.
"The real danger to these synthetic drugs is obviously they are not regulated because they're illegal street drugs," Bauknecht said. "The chemical compound is often times very different from bag to bag, even though its promoted to be the same brand."
Bauknecht started working at the Langlade County Jail in 1999. He says bath salts first started popping up in the area in 2009.
"I think it really got entrenched in our community and got entrenched in the outlying communities around us." Bauknecht said. "Then when it did become banned and people were too far gone on it so to speak to just stop because it was an illegal substance, so it became an underground substance."
The Sheriff's office hopes education sessions like the one they held in Antigo Saturday can help.
The goal was to let people know what is out on their streets. Bauknecht says the battle is more than just arresting users.
"This is more than just cops and robbers with bath salts because of the challenges with it and because of the catastrophic damage that it causes the person and our community, which is a trickle down," Bauknecht said.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, poison centers recorded 2,677 calls for exposure to bath salts.
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
RHINELANDER - Police think an Oneida County man downloaded hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls using a private chatroom.
During Danial Smith's preliminary hearing Friday, Smith's attorney asked if police had any way of knowing it was his client who downloaded the more than 700 photos.
The state Department of Justice learned a computer near Rhinelander downloaded the pictures in late 2016 thanks to a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The internet protocol (IP) addresses from the downloads were linked to Smith's home on County C in the town of Stella.
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