MARINETTE — The Marinette County Dispatch Center will soon be able to accept text to 911 calls, Communications Director Kirsten Burmeister told the county board’s Public Services Committee on Tuesday.

“We are functioning, we can receive text to 911 calls,” she reported. “But I haven’t put that out for publication yet or to the FCC because we are still waiting for two more carriers that wanted until the end of July to do all their testing and have it up and running.

“I’d rather go perse to the public when we have all the carriers on board.”

Supervisor Ken Keller, chairperson of the committee, said he’s been pushing for two years for the Dispatch Center to be capable to receive text to 911 calls.

“I just think it’s going to come in handy somewhere down the line,” he said. “Time will tell on that.”

“We’ve had three active calls on it already, invalid calls,” Burmeister said. “So it is operational. But we’re going to  wait ( to make make it available).”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

¦ Sheriff Jerry Sauve reported  that the deputy assigned specifically to recreational patrols since the first of the year as a result of action by the county board in 2018 has been busy.

Deputy Zak Albright became the full-time recreational patrol deputy in January. Half of the cost of his salary and fringe benefits are being covered by the Department of Natural Resources. Sauve has said the recreational patrol deputy also will be available to to assist in major county incidents, but that the primary role will be to address recreational concerns and respond to issues at local forestry sites.

“There is plenty of work, there’s a lot out there in that area,” the sheriff said. “He’s doing a fine job.”

Sauve said in June the recreational patrol deputy issued five citations and five warnings to boaters, 13 citations and 13 warnings to ATV users, patrolled approximately 300 miles of trails and responded to three ATV accidents.

“Boat patrols were slow in June because the weather slowly started getting better, but they’ve picked up quickly since then,” he said. “We’ve been working together with two of the forest patrol officers out of Forestry to keep our eyes and ears open to concerns there. We’ve been able to monitor several timber jobs while on ATV.”

The sheriff stressed that the recreational patrol deputy also has provided assistance to other deputies.

“Yesterday he was one of the first ones at the bank robbery call (in Pembine) because he was up north,” Sauve said.

“We’re doing a lot of education stuff, too,” said Lt. Chris Lesperance. “We’re educating young kids on the use of the trails, systems and the laws.”

“He’s teaming up with the (DNR) wardens sometimes to go out there and do a lot of that work,” Sauve said. “It’s really a nice arrangement so far.”

¦ Jail Administrator Bob Majewski reported that the jail had an average census of about 119 in June, about 10 more inmates than in the same month a year ago.

Sauve said the county had two persons on electronic monitoring, 10 on Soberlink and 23 with work-release privileges.

“Our highest population is presentence felonies,” Majewski said. “If you look at the presentence felonies, you might see that we have a drug problem in the county either with meth or heroin or OWIs.”

He said his staff is currently short two officers.

“We have a conditional offer out awaiting the drug screen and physical,” Majewski said. “We are waiting for the posting process to start (for the other position).”