Coroner Smith Reports To Law Enforcement July 10Issue Date: July 5, 2018
Marinette County Board's Public Services Committee, which replaces the former Law Enforcement Committee and has responsibilities for Veterans' Services, 911 Dispatch, Coroner, District Attorney and Emergency Government as well, will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10 in the County Board room at the Courthouse in Marinette.
In addition to ordinary business, the agenda includes a report to the committee form Coroner George Smith, presentation of letters of appreciation from the FBI for arrest of a bank robber and presentation of a life saver award to Deputy Zak Albrecht.
The committee is being asked to consider recommending that County Board approve a 3-year agreement with Aramark for jail inmate food services beginning on Jan. 1, 2019 and to review financial reports.
Committee members are supervisors Joshua Anderson, Glenn Broderick,Ginger Deschane, Chris Gromala, George Kloppenburg and Chair Ken Keller.
County Board has opted to replace the elected coroner's position with a hired medical examiner effective when Smith's current term ends in January of 2019, so this will be one of Smith's final reports to the committee.
In addition to Smith, the Marinette County Coroner's Office currently includes Deputy Coroners Patrick Barker of Peshtigo and Charlotte Staffeldt of Porterfield, and Chief Deputy Coroner Nancy Tessmer, Athelstane.
Smith's three year report shows there were 384 deaths investigated by his office in 2016. Of them, there were 349 natural deaths investigated in 2015, 334 in 2016 and 405 in 2017. There were 13 suicides and one homicide each in 2015 and 2017 and seven suicides and two homicides in 2016. The Coroner's office ordered 11autopsies in 2015, and 13 each in 2016 and 2017. Cremations are increasingly popular. There were 306 cremations in 2015, 294 in 2016 and 360 in 2017. On Tuesday, June 5 a motion from Broderick to return committee meetings to the Law Enforcement Center died for lack of a second after being strongly discouraged by County Administrator John LeFebvre and Corporation Council Gale Mattison. An attempt by Broderick, with a second from Kloppenburg, to amend minutes of the May committee meeting to state "oral reports are preferred but written reports will be accepted," also failed and the minutes were approved as printed with no mention of that conversation.
Meetings will continue to be held at the Courthouse, and July's agenda shows no provision for in-person reports from internal staff other than Smith.
The June committee meeting, and most previous meetings, included in-person reports from Communications Director Kirsten (Bellisle) Burmeister, District Attorney DeShea Morrow, Sheriff's Dept. Chief Deputy Jim Hansen, and a printed report from Jail Administrator Robert Majewski. Generally there were also in-person reports from Emergency Government Director Eric Burmeister and Sheriff Jerry Sauve.
In her June report to the committee Morrow said for the first time in some years her office is at full staff, so they are making progress on the case backlog. Assistant District Attorneys are Tessa Button, handling the traffic case load, and Cody Marschall, who has been employed for 11 months and handles the juvenile case load and other issues. In addition the office now has a Victim Witness Coordinator, two legal secretaries, and a receptionist.
Morrow invited supervisors to sit in on court sessions, particularly sessions of Drug Court, which handles special treatment for high risk, high need people who have been convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses.
This is the first time in several years that the office has been at full staff. Former District Attorney Allen Brey resigned in June of 2017 in what he said was frustration over a growing caseload and failure of the state and county to provide the help he said his office needed. For some time he was the only full time attorney, with assistance from Morrow, who was working on a part time basis. He also was short an office staff person.
Kirsten Bellisle reported she now has 13 full time dispatchers and one position was in the process of being filled.
Wildlife were posing problems at one of the tower sites used by her department, and lighting on one of the Law Enforcement Center Tower lights at 195 feet needs repair.the FCC requires lighting at 200 feet and she is researching LED and solar lighting alternatives.
Adding a Recreational Patrol Officer position for the Sheriff's Department was listed as a future agenda item for the committee. LeFebvre said if the position is to be created it should be included with the 2019 County Budget.
Chief Deputy Hansen reported the Sheriff's Department also would have a full staff, once the officer currently in training became active. One squad car had been involved in a car/deer collision, and date when squad cars ordered for this year will arrive is unknown. There are now two canine officers working with the department.
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