08/28/2019- When it comes to what to do about Marinette County forest patrol, the conversation isn’t over yet. County Board considered a recommendation Tuesday to eliminate two forestry patrol officers in the Forestry Department in favor of adding a second recreational patrol deputy in the Sheriff’s Office. That motion made it through both the Infrastructure and Administrative Committees, but was met with considerable pushback at the board level, with several supervisors saying the FPOs perform valuable work from educating the public to picking up garbage and they want to see those positions preserved. However, Supervisor Don Pazynski reiterated what those in favor of eliminating the roles have been saying all along: it’s about safety.
“Imagine, if you will, you’re one of these forestry patrol guys. You’re in the middle of the boondocks and you come across some character doing something he should not do, you’re in the middle of nowhere, and that character has a gun…These people are not trained law officers like our deputies are and I just can’t see continuing to put people at risk like that.”
Supervisor Al Mans says the one thing that’s been missing from these talks is the input of those directly impacted and he wants to hear from the county’s current FPOs, as well as the Sheriff’s Department to determine the most effective approach.
A motion was passed to split the two issues and the board then subsequently approved adding a second recreational patrol deputy. Because the DNR funds a portion of that position, the financial impact to the county will be about $30000. The question of whether or not to cut the existing Forestry Patrol Officers was then sent back to the Infrastructure Committee for reconsideration as a stand-alone issue.