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Public intoxication ordinance now on the books in Wausau

Wausau City Council in session
Wausau City Council in session
Keene Winters, Wausau Alderm... (Download MP3)

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Wausau police now have one more tool to curb bad behavior in city parks. Without discussion, Wausau City Council passed an ordinance against public intoxication Tuesday night. In a single vote, it was passed along with ten other measures on the consent agenda unanimously.

Alderman Keene Winters sees this as a step in the right direction, but not the solution to the problem. “I think it’s a small step. I voted for it because I’m inclined to give law enforcement the tools they want in terms of moving vagrants off the 400 Block, but it’s hardly a solution.”

Winters would like to see a joint solution with Marathon County that could help treat and monitor the people who presently drink too much and behave inappropriately in parks like the 400 Block. “I would really hope that we would approach the county on Social Services grounds, and talk to (Marathon) county about expanding the OWI court, which is a court that works with people with multiple convictions of drunk driving and also deal with these people who are chronically publicly intoxicated.” Winters feels treatment and the fear of penalties like jail may help deter them from causing additional problems.

Police Chief Jeff Hardel has endorsed a ban of alcohol in the 400 Block except for events. Winters doesn’t see that proposal getting City Council support at this time.