BURNETT COUNTY --The Public safety committee heard reports from their various departments last week. They also approved a resolution that could help with some of the burden felt in the Child Support department.
Child Support Director Shelly Hatch came to the meeting with a proposal for the state government to increase the funding for her department. It is a resolution that has been approved by the Wisconsin Counties Association. Every county in the state is being urged to pass this resolution and send them all collectively to the Governor.
Hatch said they are asking for $30 million of funding from the state, with Burnett County asking for $1.5 million every year till 2021.
The resolution states, “Wisconsin’s Child Support Enforcement Program is ranked second in the nation for collecting child support.”
It goes on to explain that because of a federal funds matching program for every one dollar the state invests in the departments the federal funding invests two dollars.
This means for the $1.5 million from the state will generate approximately $3 million each year.
Hatch continued by saying that state funding for child support services in Wisconsin has not increased since 2007.
The committee approved the resolution and it will now go to the full County Board on Oct. 18.
Sheriff Ron Wilhelm was in attendance to give the committee his report which began by saying they still have three deputy positions empty and don’t have any applications coming in.
“It’s a nationwide epidemic,” Wilhelm said. He then explained how the Atlanta Police Department is looking to hire 300 officers and increase their starting salary by 30 percent.
Wilhelm talked about the three police officers who were shot in Kansas City in July and another incident earlier this month in Florence, S.C.
“In Waukesha County, they are hiring Joe Blow and paying their way through the 700-hour recruitment class,” Wilhelm said. “Then (new hires) have to sign (a contract) with the department for a certain amount of time after they are done with school.”
He said that his department is still doing outreach to local high school students.
“We still take young high school students on ride alongs and hopefully that makes them want to go into it after school,” Wilhelm said.
He did have good news for the committee as well. At Grantoberfest in September, the department’s K-9 unit, Tracker and handler Deputy Mitch Olson put on a demonstration for the public.
“People got to see Tracker in action,” Wilhelm said. “He put on a great demo and the community loved it.”
There was a brief discussion about the District Attorney’s office. Some of the committee members were under the impression that a new DA had already been appointed by Governor Scott Walker.
The Sentinel reached out to Walker’s press office and they confirmed that neither candidate Dan Steffen or Joe Schieffer had been appointed by Gov. Walker. Both have been covering the DA’s duties since Bill Norine retired at the end of August.
In other items:
Register in Probate, Jackie Baasch gave her report to the committee. She is running for Clerk of Courts in an unopposed race.
She said that Jennifer Faber has been appointed to the position of Register in Probate by Judge Melissia Mogen. Faber confirmed the appointment and told the Sentinel her first day will be Jan. 7.
Medical Examiner Michael Maloney gave his quarterly report and said that his department made their 99th call on Wed. Oct. 3. Of those, 85 have been cremations. He said that was the going trend right now.