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Wisconsin Spotlight | Oct. 14, 2020

Madison — Unelected, power-grabbing bureaucrats often struggle with self-awareness. 

Case in point, the La Crosse County Health Department. 

The same agency that developed a plan to employ Isolation/Quarantine Enforcement Officers with the power to round up individuals who fail to follow lockdown orders recently posted a Facebook message admonishing, “A negative COVID-19 test result is not a get out of jail free card.” 

 La Crosse County Health’s post includes a picture of the game Monopoly’s orange Chance card, with the jailbird getting booted out of jail. 

“If you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, you must complete your 14-day quarantine. Learn more: https://lacrossecounty.org/covid19/if-you-have-been-exposed #covid19.

As Wisconsin Spotlight first reported in August, the health department was hiring COVID cops, with a particular interest in locking down the homeless. 

In early May, health officials were actively seeking candidates for Isolation/Quarantine Enforcement Officers, according to internal government emails obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight. 

In a May 4 email, La Crosse County Health Educator Brenda Hanson wrote that staff had phone contacts for three retired sheriff’s deputies, with two other pending. Ideally, she said, the department would hire as many as eight COVID cops. 

“As soon as we finalize these documents/address anything I have overlooked … This will go to Corporation Counsel & I will contact the gentlemen to establish expectations and subsequently get them hired,” Hanson wrote to her health department colleagues. 

La Crosse County health officials have yet to return Wisconsin Spotlight’s multiple requests for comment, but in the emails health officials said the proposal calls for hiring enforcement personnel as county limited term employees. 

The plan also calls for establishing a liaison with the local police department; “obtain restraints (e.g. handcuffs).” Handcuffs would be provided by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department or the La Crosse Police Department, according to the documents. 

Quarantine officers would be provided with La Crosse County Health Department emergency radios and a marked “enforcement vest.” 

Under “Enforcement,” the proposal notes that non-compliant individuals will receive a fine for not more than $500 or up to 30 days imprisonment. 

“Individual may be restrained in lieu of compliance,” the proposal notes. 

The health department posted ads for the positions. 

“This is an on-call, temporary position to guard established isolation/quarantine sites for those found to be at risk to the population relating to COVID-19. In the event an individual displays intent to violate communicable disease restrictions and/or orders, officers will be called in to enforce the orders and rules of the County Health Department or any local health officer,” one ad states. 

Now, health officials want COVID criminals to arrest themselves. 

“The health department continues to prioritize contacting cases and contacts at highest risk, however due to record high numbers of cases over the past seven days has reached capacity,” the La Crosse County Health Department states on its webpage. “It is important that the public knows some cases and contacts may not receive a phone call at this time. For this reason, we ask any newly diagnosed person with COVID-19 to fill out this form and isolate themselves immediately.”

The unelected health bureaucrats will decide when COVID criminals “get out of jail.” 

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