By AMANDA VOSS Daily News
High school students and American Legionnaires gathered at the Washington County Government Center Wednesday for the 58th annual County Youth Government Day.
“They get a behind the scenes look at county government most people don’t get a chance to see,” West Bend East and West high schools coordinator Mike Kieser said. Riebe told the students many people ask why the American Legion is involved in County Youth Government Day and he said the American Legion has four pillars. One pillar is youth and youth activities. “We feel it’s important for you to understand how government works,” Riebe said.
The students’ day started in room 1020 of the Washington County Government Center. Students signed up to be a judge, county board supervisor, county clerk, county treasurer, clerk of circuit courts, sheriff, register of deeds or district attorney.
“Because all of you signed up to be a particular position you will take the oath of office. Anyone elected must take the oath,” County Clerk Brenda Jaszewski told students.
She told students they are not doing anything different as far as workload Wednesday in the Washington County Government Center, but students will get to see what people do.
After the students took the oath they were divided into three groups. One group started its morning at the Clerk of Courts Office, another group went to the County Clerk and the third group went to the Sheriff’s Department.
Tony Montag, from American Legion Post 483 in Allenton, took the students who signed up to be the sheriff or register of deeds to the Sheriff’s Department where they heard a presentation by Sheriff Dale Schmidt. Schmidt explained to students the origin of sheriff, how a sheriff is elected, their authority and the budget process.
“Something I believe strongly is government works best when people are involved in it. We do need people to be involved in government. It helps people like me figure out what to do,” Schmidt told the students.
Schmidt also showed a video about the jail. Capt. Shirley Miller said there is an average of 250 adult inmates in the jail. She said most are in for operating while intoxicated, drug possession, burglaries and sexual assaults. She said there have been some homicides. Miller said the training has changed and corrections staff are trained on subject control and professional communication skills.
Schmidt took the students into the dispatch room. He said good customer relations skills and people who can stay calm are good qualities for a dispatcher. He also said anyone who is interested in a career at the Sheriff’s Department should be willing to work nights, weekends and holidays.
After the students learned about the Sheriff’s Department they went to the Washington County Circuit Courthouse and attended a court hearing. The day ended with a lunch in the Sheriff’s Department with speakers including County Manager Joshua Schoemann and Washington County Circuit Judge Todd Martens.