Waushara County Supervisors approve security officers to obtain DNA samples

The Waushara County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution, 9-2, in favor of allowing the part-time courthouse security officers to take DNA samples after a defendant is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor during the board’s May 19 regular meeting held at the Waushara County Courthouse, Wautoma. 

During public comments, Circuit Court Judge Guy Dutcher addressed the board regarding Sheriff Jeffrey Nett allowing the part-time courthouse security officers to take the samples.

Dutcher addressed the resolution, which would amend the current job duties of the security officers in the courthouse allowing the officer to obtain a DNA specimen.

The resolution states, after the “State of Wisconsin passed new legislation requiring the Sheriff’s Department to collect DNA samples from all individuals convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime the sheriff requests that the courthouse security officers be assigned the task of taking DNA samples from those offenders not sentenced to jail immediately upon conviction, which is a change in the original duties set by the county board.”

In opposition, Dutcher stated, “When the position was created it was done to provide security to the courthouse. [On May 19], there was no security officer for 45 minutes.”

Dutcher continued to express his disagreement with Sheriff Nett on the resolution and asked the board for consideration. “The purpose for security officers in the courthouse is to provide security,” he concluded. 

The Public Safety and Personal Committees sent the resolution to the board for consideration, where Sheriff Nett addressed the questions regarding the new job assigned to the courthouse security staff as well as the 45 minutes it took to take the sample. 

“I will look into why the DNA sample took 45 minutes; that is longer than anticipated,” said Sheriff Nett. “It should be a 5-10 minute process.” 

Nett explained, after the State of Wisconsin passed this mandate to obtain DNA samples from all convicted individuals for both misdemeanors and felonies, he had the security officers obtain the DNA sample. 

“I’ve checked with other sheriff’s offices around the state to see how they collect the samples, and those that are removed from the courthouse like ours, are having court deputies or detectives get a sample,” he said.

Nett added if the courthouse security continues to have a problem with obtaining the sample within a reasonable amount of time, he would look into it. 

The board went on to approve the resolution with Supervisors Barry Mastricola and Larry Timm voting no on the issue. 

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