MARINETTE — The Marinette County Law Enforcement Committee was warned Monday that the county is not exempt from incidents like the one that occurred in Dallas last Thursday when five police offers were killed and several others injured by a sniper at a protest rally.

“I see a need for this committee to publicly acknowledge what’s going on in this country, especially in Dallas,” said Supervisor Paul Gustafson, a member of the committee. “It’s really scary what’s going on there and I think we have to remember that we’re not exempt from that type of thing.

“We need to provide guidance for Sheriff (Jerry) Sauve and for all our deputies and officers to keep safe and keep us safe. I just think people should take what happened very seriously, even though we’re not close to it.”

“We’re close enough,” said Supervisor Cheryl Wruk, another member of the committee.

Later in the meeting, Sauve echoed Gustafson’s comment and reported on a meeting of the National Sheriffs’ Association in Minneapolis that he attended.

“The director of the FBI (James Comey) spoke to us,” he said. “There were probably a thousand sheriffs from across the country and he told us we are in trouble.

“He went on talk very eloquently for almost an hour-and-a-half about things we’re facing in this country. And since then things sure haven’t gotten any better.”

Sauve said Comey’s message was “right on point, that we all have be vigilant about what what is going on around us and just be careful in what we do out there as far as as law enforcement officers.”

He said a day after the killing of police officers in Dallas, a memo was issued by the Sheriff Greg Champagne, the new president of the National Sheriffs’ Association that he shared with his staff.

“In Dallas last night America witnessed what was probably the most deadliest ambush and assassination of law enforcement officers in U.S. history in a coordinated attack,” said Champagne, the sheriff St. Charles Parish, La. “We pray for the officers and their families who were killed and injured. 

“We pray for the safety of all officers nationwide. We are also calling for calm. We have a system of justice in this country, it must be given a chance to work no matter how angry people are.”

Champagne went to on to say “Taking the law into one’s own hands will not the solve the problems we face. Everyone in this country must now come together and work together  to solve these issues.”

Sauve reported that earlier Monday, State Rep. David Steffen, R-Green Bay, announced plans to introduce legislation that would make assaults on police officers a hate crime.

“This draft legislation was going to be released in fall of 2016,” the sheriff said. “However, in light of the Dallas events, Rep. Steffen felt it imperative to get the message out early in support of law enforcement.”

Steffen did, in fact, announced plans for the legislation Monday (see story on A1).