08/08/2019- For years Marinette County forests have been surveilled by forest patrol personnel whose responsibilities were to uphold county forest ordinances and monitor activity in the area, but that could all be changing under a recommendation from a pair of county committees. Both the Public Services and Infrastructure Committees took up the topic this week and considered eliminating the two part-time forest patrol officer positions in favor of creating a second full-time recreational patrol deputy in the Sheriff’s Department. County Administrator John Lefebvre says when it comes down to it, it’s about safety.
“The bottom line is, we’re sending these two forest patrol officers out to confront people who are violating on county land and, I’m thinking from a safety stand-point, that’s probably not the best thing we should be doing in this day and age.”
Members from both committees expressed concern over cutting the two existing positions and questioned whether the recreational patrol deputies would be willing or able to cover all the duties the forest patrol officers did, but Lefebvre says he’s confident this new method would be even more effective at curbing illegal behavior.
Through an agreement with the Wisconsin DNR, the DNR will cover about 75% of the salary of an additional recreational patrol deputy in the county. After eliminating the two existing part-time Forestry Department positions, a new deputy would still cost the county about $5000 annually. The proposal has now been forwarded on to the full county board for final consideration.