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Proposal would change how juveniles with drug paraphernalia are punished


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wausau officials have been asked to change an ordinance, so that processing juveniles for possession of drug paraphernalia can be expedited.

Marathon County Juvenile Intake specialist Jim Schroeter from the Department of Social Services says right now, it takes many levels, many months, and costs valuable time and money for everyone involved to move these cases through the court system.  “It touches 25 hands, and I’m asking and recommending that, with the support of Chief (Jeff) Hardel and Ken Heimerman, District Attorney, and the judges that the new ordinance would allow law enforcement in Wausau P.D. to issue a citation for just possession of drug paraphernalia.”

Schroeter says having this change in Wausau would match the process used in several surrounding communities, and would bring the offender before the municipal judge faster, and would require fewer steps before achieving the same end result.  “They would be processed just like underaged drinking or disorderly conduct where they go in front of the municipal court here, and then a forfeiture would be handed down.”

Schroeter says there about 25 cases per year where a juvenile is caught with the paraphernalia, but no drugs. He says situations involving both drugs and paraphernalia would continue to be processed as they are now through the county circuit court system.

The proposal was brought before Wausau's Public Health and Safety Committee Monday evening.