Wilz seeks cooperation with Rawhide
Sheriff cites juvenile problems, stolen cars, runaways
By Robert Cloud
Waupaca County deputies were called to Rawhide Ranch about 123 times in 2018.
Some of the calls were to deliver messages or assist citizens.
But most of the calls involved disorderly conduct, runaway residents, juvenile problems and property damage.
Eight calls were for mental health issues, two calls were for sex offenses, three for child abuse and three involved alcohol or drugs.
Officers were called to Rawhide 40 times from Jan. 1 through March 26 of this year.
Two of those calls were in response to runaways stealing cars on March 2 and March 23.
The March 23 incident resulted in a high-speed chase that ended in a crash in Shawano County.
Waupaca County Sheriff Tim Wilz, District Attorney Veronica Isherwood, deputies and staff from the Department of Health and Human Services met with Rawhide staff for three hours to discuss issues.
“We basically voiced our concerns and the concerns of what we’re hearing from the public,” Wilz said.
Wilz said his office is concerned about the number of runaways with stolen vehicles, the amount of time deputies are spending to respond to disorderly conduct complaints and the lack of cooperation with the counties placing youth into Rawhide.
“We’re spending several hours on these calls without any cooperation with what we do with these children,” Wilz said. “They’re so young that we have to put them in secure detention like Portage County or transport them back to where they came from like Milwaukee, Racine or Madison.”
Wilz noted Waupaca County is bearing the financial burden for dealing with problem juveniles.
He described the March 27 meeting in positive terms.
“Through that discussion, we’re going to move forward, working together to come up with a plan of action,” Wilz said. “We’re trying to reach a more cooperative agreement with Rawhide and come up with solutions to minimize law enforcement’s interaction.”
He said Rawhide sometimes needs to call sooner before a missing child becomes a runaway.
Other times, staff needs to deal with less serious problems on their own.
Wilz said a public meeting about safety and security issues is planned at Rawhide, but no date has been scheduled yet.