MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel continued his 72-county statewide tour to meet with local law enforcement and elected officials this week with stops in Rusk and Sawyer counties on Thursday, March 22.
“I’m encouraged by the law enforcement and local leadership I see on the ground in Rusk and Sawyer Counties, and their ability to make progress in the state’s opioid and meth epidemics through interdiction and enforcement efforts, and strong community support,” said Attorney General Schimel. “These roundtable meetings are a continuation of the successful collaboration we previously established with leaders here in northwestern Wisconsin.”
“We are extremely thankful for the time and effort Attorney General Brad Schimel exerts protecting Sawyer County friends and families from the rising meth and heroin epidemic,” said Sawyer County District Attorney Bruce Poquette. “Our discussion rightfully centered on the explosion of addiction in Sawyer County. Each of the many topics we discussed concern, in one way or another, drug addiction and the costly impact it has on our community. Although many of the addiction problems we face are elusive, there is hope when leaders in the community work with state and local law enforcement to find solutions.”
Attorney General Schimel and the DOJ leadership team is meeting with law enforcement and local officials in every county to discuss public safety concerns specific to each county. The challenges faced by law enforcement leaders and the criminal justice system differ from county to county, even in neighboring communities, making it critical for DOJ to be responsive to public safety needs at the local level. DOJ is local communities’ partner in safety, and these meetings aim to discover what additional resources and expertise DOJ can provide to make Wisconsin safer and stronger.
DOJ financially supports a number of programs to help public safety officials keep the counties safe.
This year, Rusk County received nearly $123,000 to enhance the counties’ alcohol and drug courts, which provide an alternative to incarceration for those struggling with addiction.
The Northwest Area Crime Unit, which includes Sawyer County, will receive more than $41,000 from U.S. DOJ and Wisconsin DOJ this year to help investigate drug distribution crimes in the area. This drug task force has also received nearly $122,000, and Rusk County has received more than $34,000, since 2015 to fight heroin and methamphetamine, and funding will be available through 2018.
DOJ also financially supports Rusk and Sawyer Counties’ crime victim services organizations, ensuring that crime victims are given guidance and counseling as they participate in the criminal justice system. Since 2015, through U.S. DOJ Victims of Crime Act grants, DOJ has distributed more than $164,000 to Lac Courte Oreilles Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and nearly $716,000 to victim services in Rusk County.
To see what other counties the Attorney General has visited, and where he will going next, go to: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/ag-roundtable-map