New Marathon County Sheriff Pledges To Improve Jail Security


Marathon County’s new sheriff is pledging to improve jail security in the wake of an attack that left a corrections officer critically wounded.

Former Chief Deputy Scott Parks is the new Marathon County Sheriff, following his appointment last week by Governor Scott Walker. Parks is inheriting a department in disarray, after the resignation of former Sheriff Randy Hoenisch, and the March 29 attack by an inmate in the county jail. Thirty-six-year-old corrections officer Julie Christiansen is still hospitalized. Sheriff Parks will only say that she’s improving.

“This is a very decent community with a lot of great people out there, so you don’t expect things like this to happen. The family has asked us not to release anything, and out of respect for the family, all I can tell you is she’s improving.”

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Parks says he’s making the jail his top priority. He wants to replace the camera security system, have mental health professional’s work more closely with inmates, and hire more people.

“We are still searching to come up with two additional corrections officers from the county. That’s a small, small number, but it’s a start.”

The county’s jail administrator resigned following the attack. Former Sheriff Hoenisch resigned after a newspaper investigation showed he was frequently absent from his office. The new sheriff says both were factors in the jail security problem.

“I think both Sheriff Hoenisch and I were dependent on the jail administrator. And as far as him not being present, I think it’s a combination of factors as to the breakdown that we saw.”

Scott Parks says he’s aware that he was appointed sheriff, and not elected, and that he has to work to earn the trust of Marathon County voters.