MARINETTE —  Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve announced Tuesday that he has reached an agreement with the county’s two judges and the clerk of courts and district attorney that will help control the population of the county’s 165-bed capacity jail.

He told the county board’s Public Services Committee that the agreement will lead to fewer people being jailed because they owe money to pay fines.

“We have a new procedure in place,” Sauve explained. “If the amount of arrears that somebody owes is over a certain amount of money they will still come to jail. If it’s less than a certain amount they won’t come to jail and they will have a tax intercept or other means of collecting the money.”

Sauve said if the amount owed is under $1,000, no warrant will be issued and if it is above $1,000, a warrant will be issued and the person will be jailed.

“It (the agreement) is a long time in coming,” he said. “I appreciate everybody’s help with getting that done; both of the judges and the DA and the clerks were most helpful in accomplishing that.”

Jail Administrator Bob Majewski said in October the jail housed an average of 134 inmates, with 61/2 on electronic monitoring; and 126 in November, with six on electronic monitoring.

“The Drug Court has about 20 participants and the Mental Health Court has three participants,” he said. “So there’s 23 more that would be in jail if we didn’t have these programs.”

Sauve said if an inmate is sitting in jail with a fine of more than $1,000, the district attorney can file a motion, put the debt owed in for collection and release the inmate.

“The jail, as you know, was getting right up there (in population) to the point of where are we going to put all these people?” he said. “So we had to look at every option that we had to reduce that number and keep it workable.”

Sauve said Majewski came up to him “quite awhile ago and said this is an area (where we could cut the jail population) and a lot of other counties are doing it.”

“We started looking at it and how we could do it here,” he said. “Keeping people in jail because they can’t pay a fine, it’s an age-old dilemma much like child support that judges struggle with. You put somebody in jail and then they’re sure not going to be working and paying their fines.”

Sauve noted that when in jail, the inmate’s debt continues to grow with daily fees.

“This is a good thing and it’s going to start paying off for us soon,” he said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

¦ The committee voted to recommend to the Administrative Committee the immediate creation of an additional sheriff’s deputy position until such time as a current employee on administrative unpaid leave returns to the position or leaves county employment. In the event the current employee returns or leaves county employment, a sheriff’s deputy position will be eliminated upon vacancy.

“For now for over a year, the Sheriff’s Office has been one deputy short due to a suspension of a deputy,” Sauve said in a written request to the committee for the position. “The legal proceedings concerning this deputy continue on at a slow pace and we must carry on with business.”

He said the “shortage of this deputy for this long has caused a hardship, especially on the one platoon that is always short.”

“Soon we will be interviewing for new deputy sheriffs due to other vacancies and would like to fill this also, as we will be in the selection and training process,” Sauve said. “This is advantageous to do all at once so we can have them up and ready by spring/summer.”

¦ The committee voted to recommend to the Administrative Committee and county board to approve a budget transfer from the canine fund balance account in the amount of $2,400  for physician fees for the K9 Dasko.

“While on duty he stepped on a sharp cutoff piece of brush stick and it went up in his foot to his leg,” the sheriff explained. “They had to have surgery because it snapped off in there and then he was out of service for awhile. He was limping on three legs and wasn’t quite right. They didn’t get it all out and a vet had to do a subsequent surgery. He was out of service for about six weeks.”

Sauve said the “good new is he’s now fully recovered and he’s back in service. The money is in the account, we just need to get it transferred over to pay the bills.”