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It may seem like an ordinary statement or possibly obvious, however, Sheriff Tracy Finch was very proud to report that her department is fully staffed.

“It’s the first time in many years,” Finch said at the public safety committee meeting this month. Finch also introduced the newest deputy from her department to the committee before the meeting.

Bailey Mangen, formerly of the Grantsburg and Siren Police Departments, has started working for them after about a year with local police departments. He is a Siren graduate and Finch is happy to welcome him to the department.

Finch reported that they still have two deputies in training, but that is specific Burnett County training. Wiltrout said they have already gone through the police academy around 720 hours’ worth of training. He added the training is more robust than it used to be .

When Finch was at the academy it was much less than that about 400 hours.

Finch added the jail is also fully staffed.

Discussion on recreational marijuana

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois law HB1438 went into effect and allowed adults, over 21, to purchase marijuana for recreational purposes. It makes Illinois the 11th state to allow sale of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Last year, Minnesota began preparing plans for legalization of recreational weed.

The committee did have a few questions for the law enforcement representatives at the meeting about the new Illinois law.

Medical marijuana is available in Minnesota, as one of 33 states with medical marijuana available to qualifying patients. In Wisconsin, recreational marijuana is illegal and there are very stringent laws on medical marijuana.

Supervisor Gene Olson noted that a number of people who visit during the summer are from Illinois. He asked about jurisdiction with the new Illinois law.

“If they get pulled over for a moving violation and there’s marijuana in the car can you still ticket them?” Olson asked.

Absolutely, was the response from Finch and Chief Deputy Jameson Wiltrout. They added just because they have an Illinois license plate does not mean they can possess marijuana in Wisconsin.

“If they’re in our state they follow our laws, and, in this state, marijuana is still illegal,” Wiltrout stated.