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NEWS STORIES

A Behind the Scenes Look at Being a JailerSubmitted: 04/10/2013

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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.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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Hwy 51 closed near IrmaSubmitted: 07/29/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - Wisconsin State Patrol shut down Highway 51 South near Irma Tuesday afternoon.

An SUV hit a semi around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. No one was seriously hurt.

Traffic going south was rerouted while traffic going north was fine.

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Northwoods paddleboard business successful in fourth yearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - The popularity of paddleboarding continues to contribute to the success of a newer Northwoods business.

5 Toes on the Nose Paddleboard Rentals brings paddleboards anywhere in the Northwoods.

We caught up with paddleboard business owner Sarah Weyenberg Tuesday.

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Reconstruction of Hwy 51, Hwy 47 intersection pushed back to 2018Submitted: 07/29/2014

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WOODRUFF - Construction on the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 47 in Woodruff will be pushed back to 2018. The project was supposed to start in 2017.

That's because DOT supervisors aren't sure how they want to reconstruct the road yet. They're looking at a few different design plans right now.

Project leaders want to make sure they pick the safest option. They also want more community input before they make a decision.

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Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Election voting under way in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MILWAUKEE - Early election voting is underway at city clerks' offices across Wisconsin.

Voters who can't make it to the polls for the primary election next month are able to cast ballots. It's the first election since the Legislature put limits on the process. In-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is to take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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