Oconto County adds 911 chief

Reorganization creates third sheriff’s division administrator
Warren Bluhm
News editor

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Department is reorganizing its administration to add a communications supervisor.

Sheriff Todd Skarban said the change, approved by the Oconto County Board on May 23 and expected to take effect after an internal reorganizational meeting June 11, is “the last piece of the puzzle” in restructuring the department that began after he was first elected in 2018.

He told the board the communications supervisor will act under the general direction of the sheriff, providing supervisory support over civilian personnel, telephone operations and radio dispatch operations along with the operations of the E911 communication center.

The new position replaces a public safety administrator/forensic analyst job that became vacant in the county Technology Services Department in December. Among the changes, the duties of the old position will be split among three sheriff’s department supervisors who will be certified as administrators of Spillman Application police operational software. The other two are the jail and operations administrators.

“Since this division works closely with the other divisions of the sheriff’s office and with the other agencies in the criminal justice, fire, EMS and emergency management systems — all communication matters — we’re adding a SAA (Spillman Application Administrator) certification to this position,” Skarban told the county board. “I have two others. If you have a three-legged stool, you have corrections, you have operations — patrol, investigations and records management — and then you have the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system.”

Splitting the workload of the former TS position among those three supervisors creates more stability within the organization, he said.

“This is going to create redundancy so if you lose someone, you don’t fall to pieces,” Skarban said. “This is an industry standard, and we’re trying to be forward thinking.”

Because the change replaces one administrative position with a new one, the salary and benefits were already funded in the 2024 county budget, so there’s no fiscal impact, the sheriff said.

Human Resources Director Shelly Schultz said the plan is for the communications supervisor to work noon to 10 p.m. so that her hours overlap the two main shifts in the dispatch center.

“We’ve really been missing the communication between the two shifts,” Schultz said.

The center has been overseen by two telecommunications corporals. Those positions remain, with the new administrator given overall responsibility.