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New Marathon Co. Sheriff Promises TransparencySubmitted: 05/09/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

New Marathon Co. Sheriff Promises Transparency
WAUSAU - After a rough start to the year, the Marathon County Sheriff's Department could use a fresh start. The new Sheriff told us Thursday he's planning on it.

The wait for a new Marathon County Sheriff ended Wednesday when Governor Scott Walker appointed Chief Deputy Scott Parks to the position.

He took the oath today in front of his family and colleagues, filling the role 20 other people applied for.

It comes months after Sheriff Randy Hoenish resigned following the Wausau Daily Herald's discovery that he'd barely been to work all year. Then in March an inmate attacked a correctional officer, leaving her in critical condition. That led to the jail administrator's resignation, and the formation of a jail study panel. Sheriff Parks says their identification of that panel is an example of renewed commitment to transparency.

"I don't think we've hidden anything. We've opened up our closets and shown you as much as we possibly can. The whole focus here is to demonstrate to community, to you, to the department that we're serious about what we're trying to put in place here and what we're going to do for them. And that's how you start to build that trust back," says Parks.

Sheriff Parks also wants to develop ways to save money while giving people more services than they see right now.

"The top three agencies: Marathon Sheriff, Wausau Police, Everest Metro are combining our services in a number of areas. Our tactical team, SWAT; SWAT is a combination of Marathon Sheriff, Wausau and Everest. We continue to look to see if we can expand that out to some of the other law enforcement agencies," says Parks.

Sheriff Parks wants his colleagues to help hold himself to a high level of accountability

"I challenged each one of them that if they ever see me not holding myself accountable, or acting inappropriately, or what they consider to be inappropriately, I would expect them to address that immediately with me," says Parks.

All part of the new Sheriff's plan to help make the second part of the year less about controversy and more about progress in Marathon County.



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The first training session is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion at Hodag Park in Rhinelander.

Chapter President Mark Schroeder says the program is like lake therapy.

"Hey for one thing we are out on the water. It's something that is good for all us; it is good for everyone really," said Schroeder.

Anyone can volunteer to be a captain or a mate.

The training takes about two hours.

"When you're out in the water, there's something that happens. It is the look that people have, it's the smile have. It truly changes your attitude towards life," said Pastor Rod Ankrom of Calvary Baptist Church.

Pontoon rides run through mid-September.

If you want to schedule a ride or volunteer, call 715-219-5436.



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