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

A Behind the Scenes Look at Being a Jailer
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: 11/21/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll tell you about a survey Merrill Area Public Schools are giving residents to get input on how they would feel about a referendum.

We go to Rhinelander retail businesses to see how they're preparing for Black Friday.

And kindergarten teachers in Eagle River received grant funding for Lego sets. Today some of the kids enthusiastically show us their projects.

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

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MERRILL - Merrill Fire Department wants to remind you to stay safe this Thanksgiving.

Deep-frying a turkey is a popular cooking style, but it's also the most dangerous way to prepare your bird.
 
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Turkey fryer explosions can be massive.

Set up the fryer in an open-air space, away from kids and pets.

"Fire can expand at least two times the size every minute. Leaving for two or three minutes? You're looking at a pretty big fire," firefighter and paramedic Phillip Skoug.

For those deer hunters out there, never place your fryer near your canopy.

You should also never leave food cooking in your kitchen untended either.

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TAYLOR COUNTY - A kindergartener from north central Wisconsin is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under the state's new law that eliminates the state's minimum hunting age.

Six year old Lexie Harris is no stranger to the woods.

Her dad, Tyler Harris, has taken her hunting since she was three.

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MADISON - Election season is starting early in Wisconsin.

Voters will fill three open seats in the Legislature over the next two months. Primaries are set for December 19th with the general elections scheduled for January 16th.

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MADISON - The authors of a Republican bill that would dramatically relax Wisconsin's air pollution rules say the regulations are placing an undue burden on businesses.

Representative Jesse Kremer and Senator Duey Stroebel told the Assembly's Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations during a public hearing Tuesday that the state regulates scores of pollutants that the federal government doesn't and the rules need to be reviewed.

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MINOCQUA - Cities and towns in Wisconsin only get so many liquor licenses for restaurants and bars.
 
All 30 of Minocqua's are currently filled and have been for quite a few years. 

Town Clerk Roben Haggart says Minocqua has had to turn away potential businesses because of the lack of Class B liquor licenses. 

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RHINELANDER - A mound of boxes full of things like canned goods, toiletries, and clothing stunned LeRoy Eades when he walked into Peoples State Bank in Rhinelander on Monday morning.

"It blew my mind out," Eades said, with a smile.

Eades, his wife Shirley, and Cheryl Zastrow came to Anderson Street branch to pick up donations for their Rhinelander Military Support Group.

"I would have to say, it's probably one of our largest [collections ever]," Eades said.

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