Department Tips and Wisconsin Laws

Department Tips and Wisconsin Laws

Wood County Sheriff's Department Tips and Wisconsin Laws

residen.gif (362 bytes) RESIDENTIAL SAFETY domestic.gif (2094 bytes) DOMESTIC ABUSE
apt.gif (314 bytes) APARTMENT SAFETY gang.gif (1497 bytes) PARENTS AND GANGS
vacation.gif (341 bytes) VACATION SECURITY traffic.gif (346 bytes) TRAFFIC ACCIDENT SAFETY AND REPORTING.
auto.gif (286 bytes) AUTO SECURITY phone.gif (271 bytes) HANDLING ANNOYING PHONE CALLS
bckleup.gif (568 bytes) WISCONSIN SAFETY BELT LAWS schbus.gif (1720 bytes) WISCONSIN SCHOOL BUS PASSING LAWS

Note:  The Wood County Sheriff Department does not have a crime prevention division.  These are basic tips of safety and information of laws pertaining to certain subjects and procedures of the Sheriff's Dept.


This section of ideas is meant to help you strengthen your home security against common break-ins. These ideas will not guarantee 100% protection, but can help make your home into a castle.

1. LOCKS: Secure doors with a good quality single or double-cylinder lock. Features of a good deadbolt are:

  1. Minimum 1" bolt throw.
  2. Hardened steel insert in bolt.
  3. Tapered or free-turning cylinder guards to resist attempts to twist or wrench the lock from the door.
  4. Strike plates should be attached to wood door frame with not less than two 2 "-3" wood screws. Strike plates, when attached to metal, should be attached with not less than two No. 8 machine screws. Be sure to use screws of sufficient length to reach the wood studding beyond the door frame.
  5. If glass is within 40" of locking hardware, a double-cylinder deadbolt lock may be considered for maximum security. 

2. DOOR VIEWER: Install a wide-angle door viewer of not less than 190 degrees.

3. HINGES: To protect the door from being lifted from its hinges by pulling the hinge pin, follow these simple steps:

  1. Insert a framing (2-headed) nail into the doorjamb 1" below the top hinge and 1" above the bottom hinge. The second head will protrude about ".
  2. Drill a hole about " deep into the inner side of the door to accommodate the nail when the door is closed.

4. KICKPANEL: If the door has a kickpanel, it may be kicked in, enabling the burglar to reach in and unlatch the lock. To alleviate this problem, replace with a solid core door or cover the panel with a grillwork or " plywood or heavy-gauge, impact-resistant plastic, such as Plexiglas. Fasten the plywood, grillwork, or Plexiglas to the door with the carriage bolts or other types of bolts or screws that cannot be removed from the exterior of the door. If the door has a window, protect with grillwork or Plexiglas.

5. HOLLOW CORE DOORS: Replace hollow core doors with solid core doors or face the hollow door with " plywood. Fasten the carriage bolts.

6. SLIDING DOOR: The sliding door can be lifted from its track. To prevent this, with the door in the full open position, insert a 2ft. length of wood framing in the upper channel of the door frame. The wood must be the width of the channel. Screw the wood firmly into the frame channel, making sure the door will still slide freely. An alternative method is to drill four staggered holes in the upper channel of the door frame. Install sheet metal screws, letting them protrude just enough so the door can slide freely. Note: Use the first method if door has a hollow channel on top. Also consider a keyed sliding door lock that locks on the inside of the frame.

7. SLIDING WINDOWS: The sliding window can also be lifted out of its track. Drill holes, putting sheet metal screws in the upper channel across the top. Screw heads must be large enough so they do not drop down into the channel. An alternative method is to slide a wooden dowel in the upper channel of the window to prevent the window from being lifted out, but still allowing it to slide. Also add an anti-slide device, screw-on, slide bolt or key lock.

8. DOUBLE-HUNG WINDOWS: To properly secure double-hung windows, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window (each corner) through, and into, the bottom of the top window and insert a pin or carriage bolt which can be easily removed by hand. Another consideration would be to replace existing thumb latch with a keyed locking device.

9. LOUVERED WINDOWS are poor security risks. Remove and replace with solid glass, or another type of ventilating window, or put epoxy glue on the ends of the glass to permanently attach the panes to the frame to prevent easy removal. If these methods are not feasible, protect the window with a grate or grill.

10. SLIDE BOLTS AND PADLOCKS are recommended for both exterior sides of the garage door. Because of the amount of flex in the door, one slide bolt and padlock is not sufficient. Be sure that the slide bolts are of case-hardened metal. When installed, carriage bolts should be inserted from the outside to prevent removal. If it is convenient to lock the garage door from the inside, another method of securing the door is to drill a hole through the bottom frame at both ends of the door and into the concrete at least three inches. Then insert a cane bolt or " heavy bolt through the frame and into the floor. Roll-up garage doors can be secured by drilling a hole in the middle of the track behind the last roller and inserting a padlock on each side. If the door is secured with an automatic door opener, also use inside cane or slide bolts for added security when away for extended periods.

11. LIGHTING: One key to burglary prevention is adequate interior and exterior lighting. For the interior of the home, timers on the lights are recommended. For the exterior, each outside doorway should be lighted with a minimum of a 60 watt light over the entrances. For homes with wide or deep yards or parking areas, a high-pressure sodium security light with a light sensor (photo-electric cell) may be considered.

12. EXTERIOR ELECTRICAL BOXES: Place a padlock on exterior electrical boxes to prevent someone from turning off the power to the residence. Note: Keep the key readily available in case of emergency.

13. GATES should be equipped with a hasp, latch, or slide bolt made of hardened metal. The hasp, latch, or slide bolt must be installed with carriage bolts through the door or gate. Use large washers on the inside. After the nuts are secured, deface the threads of the bolt ends to keep the nuts from being removed. Use a good padlock to secure the door or gate.

14. ALL PADLOCKS should be of case-hardened metal construction and have both heel and toe locking features with a minimum 9/32" shackle. (Naturally, heavier shackles offer additional security.)

15. SHRUBBERY provides concealment for burglars. Always keep it trimmed, away from doors, windows, and yard lighting.

16. PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION: It is recommended that you engrave your Driver's License number or some other type of lettering in an obvious place on your valuable property. (Example: B620-xxx.) This enables the Police to identify your property. In addition, it acts as a deterrent to a burglar, as most burglars do not like to take engraved items. If you own property that cannot be engraved you should photograph each item individually. On the back of each photograph write a description, the date of purchase and the serial number. It is strongly recommended that you keep an inventory list of all your property, listing serial numbers, when applicable.

17. SMOKE DETECTORS should be used in all homes and apartments for early warning of fire to allow for escape.

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The downstairs main entrance door is not guaranteed protection against intruders, it is merely the first line of defense. Secure all windows and install a deadbolt lock on your apartment door as well a wide angle viewer (peephole) for proper security. NEVER depend on a chain lock. Use your peephole to "interview" strangers at your door. Ask all salesmen, solicitors, information seekers, etc., to produce valid credentials such as a driver's license and/or employee I.D.  Use the intercom system wisely if available. If you do not know the person or persons who rang your bell, do not "buzz" the door for them to enter your building.

Cooperate with all other tenants in keeping the outer main doors locked. Do not permit strangers to enter the building as you are leaving or entering. The main entrance front door is a critical area for security. There must be a building policy in force that requires all nonresidents to be screened outside the main entrance door by the tenant who is being visited to prevent unauthorized access.

Avoid using the Laundromat in your apartment complex by yourself, especially at nighttime. Team up with a neighbor. If you are a woman living alone, do not place your full name on the identification slot or in the telephone directory. Use first and middle initials. Example: "M.C. Smith" rather than "Mary Smith". Be especially careful in carport areas. Lock your car. When entering or leaving, look around and be sure no one is lurking in the area. If you do see someone loitering (that doesn't belong) leave immediately and notify the manager or call the police.

If there is a storage compartment in the carport, don't place valuable items in them and expect that they will be secure. A good quality padlock should be used with a well secured hasp. Don't leave notes for the paper-boy or building manager advertising your absence. Have deliveries picked up by a friend or neighbor while on vacation. Use a timer for lamp or radio to give your apartment an occupied sound or look.

Develop a buddy system or apartment alert system with your neighbors in the apartment house to help protect each other's property. A well organized and active tenant association would be most helpful. Notify the building manager if you leave for an extended vacation and whether you will have a house sitter or someone caring for your apartment. Observe elevator interior before entering. Wait until the next elevator if you are uncertain of any occupant. Females riding alone should always stand near the control panel. If accosted, press all buttons including the alarm. If a suspicious person enters the elevator, exit before the door closes. Also, before exiting from the elevator, observe the corridor for suspicious activity.

A key cylinder should be changed within the lock if keys are lost and they clearly identify the location of your building or apartment. This should also be done if the apartment was formerly occupied and you are the new tenant.  So many burglaries could be prevented if more people would report suspicious happenings. When you see a stranger carrying items out of a neighbor's apartment, PLEASE CALL. Don't feel like you are being a nuisance, the police will welcome your alertness.

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Before Leaving

On the Road

Car Rental and Security


Hotel and Motel Security

When staying overnight at a hotel or motel, remember the following:

On the Town

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Securing your vehicle can be one of the most difficult jobs in your effort to protect your personal belongings. Theft of stereos and other valuables from cars is a prevalent crime during late night hours when most are asleep.

  1. Whenever possible, park where there is good lighting and in a spot that is visible to potential eyewitnesses.
  2. Do not store valuables in your car, even in the trunk. Thieves often will force open trunks especially at shopping center and beach parking lots looking for concealed items.
  3. The installation of an alarm system that detects glass breakage can protect most car stereos from theft. Make sure that you can adjust the sensitivity so that false alarms will be eliminated.
  4. Do not leave your car running unattended.

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Can the relationship between the victim and the adult suspect be described as:

And the suspect's actions can be described by any of the following:



You're not alone. Don't be ashamed to ask for help!



It's a crime to threaten or hit another person. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to protect yourself and to expect help from others.

Don't stay in your home. Doing nothing solves nothing. Go to a friend, neighbor, or relative. Call the Police to report the incident. Temporary shelter is available for Domestic abuse persons and their children. The important thing is to get to a safe place as quickly as possible!


If you are in an abusive relationship, you cannot control the situation, therefore it is important to report any assault or battery to the police or sheriff's department by calling 9-1-1 immediately.

In Wisconsin, there is a mandatory arrest law in reference to Domestic abuse. If there is signs that a crime occurred, deputies from our department will take the primary aggressor to jail. The sooner you report incident the better. By allowing others to become involved you are helping yourself, and others involved in the incident.



Following the arrest of an individual for Domestic abuse, a 72 hour no contact provision may be placed into affect to allow the victim to seek help from either:

If the subject arrested makes contact with the victim within this period, they will be arrested again. If they violated a crime, it is now enhanced to a felony.




Criminal prosecution and/or civil action (divorce or separation) are options for any Domestic Abuse person. Often the individual is unable to admit there is a problem. Counseling is only helpful if both partners want help and are motivated to work together. If the abuse is habitual or extremely violent, this individual may need long term therapy.

Information on counseling and therapy for a victim is available through referrals to the Personal Development Council and Family Center.



If the individual refuses to seek help, it is unlikely the beatings will stop. Statistics show the beatings will become more and more severe. Protect yourself.

The Personal Development Council or the Family Center can assist you in obtaining a restraining order requiring that individual to stay away from you, your residence, and your workplace.

Further contact is again a mandatory arrest situation.


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What gang members do isn't kid stuff, and it's not a harmless phase that they are going through. Gang members steal and destroy property and commit many violent crimes. As parents, we need to know why our children are joining gangs, and the warnings signs that may indicate gang membership.


  1. because they have low self-esteem
  2. because they have a lack of identity
  3. because they have a need to feel important
  4. because they are seeking companionship or a sense of belonging
  5. because they are looking for security
  6. because they lack other positive alternative activities, like sports
  7. because they lack parental involvement
  8. because they succumb to peer pressure


  1. a change in the style of clothing worn or wearing one particular color often
  2. withdrawing from the family
  3. declining grades and poor school attendance
  4. unexplained money or new possessions
  5. tattoos that are affiliated with a gang or group
  6. use of nicknames
  7. graffiti on their personal things or on their clothing
  8. contacts with the police


  1. establish non-negotiable rules for your family regarding the use of alcohol, drugs, and gang membership
  2. establish clear guidelines and limits for your children's behavior and their activities
  3. spend time with your children; do things with them and attend functions in which they are involved
  4. respect your children's feelings and attitudes; help them to develop a strong sense of self-esteem
  5. if your unsure or are in family crises, then seek help from a local agency
  6. get to know your children's friends and acquaintances
  7. become involved in your child's school; meet with the counselors and teachers
  8. educate yourself as much as you can about gangs and drugs

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Try to AVOID an accident:

In case of accident,:

  2. Notify the local police if there are injuries, if traffic is obstructed, if there is serious damage to either car, or if the other driver appears intoxicated.
  3. Do not move the vehicles unless it is totally necessary.
  4. The Deputy that arrives will inform you if a accident report will be filled out.   In the case a accident is placed on file, it will be located at the Wood County Sheriff Department in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.  
  5. Notify your insurance company.

Car vs. Deer Accidents:




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Nuisance Phone Calls

For all the convenience that the telephone brings, many have experienced the aggravation and annoyance of harassing phone calls. The following are guidelines to reduce this type of nuisance:

Consumer Protection

Harassing Calls


The Sheriff department has a policy for handling phone abuse calls. We will work along with the local phone company's to assist you with these problems.  In most cases we can place a trace on the line attempt to locate where the calls are coming from.  Please call the sheriff department if you are having problems with phone abuse.

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Any automobile sold in the state of Wisconsin must be equipped with safety belts.

All drivers of motor vehicles and all passengers over the age of four must wear safety belts.

These laws apply to Wisconsin residents and non-residents alike in all front seat positions and in rear seat positions with three-point belts. Children under four are required to be restrained in an appropriate child safety restraint (see Child safety seats).

Currently, Wisconsin has what is known as a secondary enforcement seat belt law. It allows law enforcement to ticket a driver for not belting up only after the person has already been stopped for some other violation.

A standard, or primary enforcement seat belt law would allow police to stop and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt, just like any other routine traffic violation.

Where a primary enforcement law exists, seat belt usage is higher. States such as California and North Carolina have realized a significant increase in safety belt usage (to 80 % in North Carolina) through the combination of a primary law and an aggressive awareness and enforcement effort.

Wisconsin law provides for a fine of $10 and no points are assigned against a person's driver record. Those subject to the penalty include drivers, drivers with unrestrained passengers 4 to 16 years old and passengers at least 16 years old.

The penalty for violating the child passenger law involving a child under the age of 4 is not less than $30 or more than $75. The penalty for violating the child passenger law involving a child between the ages of 4-8 is not less than $10 or more than $25.

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Don't pass a stopped school bus

Drivers must stop on the street or highway 20 feet or more from any school bus that has stopped and is flashing red warning lights.

  • This applies both to vehicles approaching from the rear and from the opposing lanes.
  • All lanes of traffic must stop for the school bus, except in opposing lanes if the highway is divided with a center median.
  • No vehicle may proceed until the bus resumes motion and has turned off the red warning lights.
  • The stop arm on the bus is an added communication to other drivers, but the lack of an extended stop arm is not reason to pass a bus whose red lights are flashing.

In some urban areas buses will signal with yellow lights, or use red lights only in some parts of town. Motorists should observe school buses carefully for either the "pass cautiously" yellow light signal or the required full stop when a bus is flashing red lights.

A vehicle owner can be cited when the driver of a car passes a school bus illegally. A law enforcement officer need not witness this violation if the school bus driver reports it to the law enforcement agency within 24 hours. Fines can be quite high for illegally passing a school bus, but the risk of hitting a child is even higher.

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No more LAFs (license applied for) plates are needed in Wisconsin.

As part of a new law that went into effect Sept. 1, the state Department of Transportation is making it easier for motorists who buy a car or small truck to more easily obtain temporary plates. The handmade "LAF" plates are no longer needed.

The law gives motorists buying a car or small truck two business days to obtain a permanent or temporary plate. To help motorists obtain the plates, WisDOT has entered into partnerships with some financial institutions, county clerks, law enforcement agencies and dealers to provide the temporary plates.

Persons needing plates can obtain permanent or temporary plates from a DMV center offering registration services. The numbered cardboard temporary plates, good for 90 days, are also available from the dealer where the vehicle is purchased, the financial institution that is financing the purchase, and some county clerks and law enforcement agencies acting as WisDOT agents.

The temporary plates are free at DMV centers, financial institutions, and from dealers involved in the purchase. County clerks and other DMV agents not involved in the purchase charge $3 for the plate and up to a $5 service fee. DMV centers charge a $5 service fee whether a permanent or temporary plate is issued.

In all cases, the person must submit their paperwork and fees before a temporary plate will be issued.

Persons with valid plates to transfer from a previous vehicle can put them on the newly purchased vehicle and mail a MV 5 or MV 1 application to the state Department of Transportation's Division of Motor Vehicles. A copy of the form should be kept in the vehicle. The forms can be downloaded at

"We expect that this law will put an end to the abuse of the LAF plates," said Roger Cross, administrator of the state Department of Transportation's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He said that about 115,000 non-dealer sales of vehicles will be affected by the law.

Persons who fail to obtain temporary or permanent plates within two working days could be subject to a penalty of up to $200.

The names and locations of DMV agents selling the temporary plates is available from 1.800.242.2514.

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