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.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
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