UPDATE: There's a new sheriff in town - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: There's a new sheriff in town

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Scott Parks, the chief deputy of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department since 2007, was promoted to sheriff on Wednesday in an appointment announced by Gov. Scott Walker.

Parks, 54, will be sworn in Thursday, replacing Randy Hoenisch, who retired in March amid criticism of his work habits. Hoenisch had been sheriff for more than a decade.

"Public safety is not just protection against criminal activity," Parks said in a statement. "It entails safe roads, better health initiatives, greater efforts to care for our aging or handicapped populations and looking out for the well-being of our children."

Parks, who joined the sheriff's department in 1979, said he would work to expand shared services, to be fiscally responsible and to continue building "strong relationships."

Parks was not immediately available for further comment Wednesday. He planned a news conference Thursday.

Parks will serve the remainder of Hoenisch's four-year term ending Jan. 5, 2015.

At the time of his retirement, Hoenisch was under scrutiny after records released in February showed he had spent less than two hours in the office this year. His wife, Kim Hoenisch, also is awaiting sentencing on drug charges. Four days after Hoenisch retired, a jailer was attacked by an inmate and critically hurt, leading to an independent review of jail operations.

Walker said Parks' 33 years of experience working for the sheriff's department was invaluable.

"Scott is a calm leader, a trait that is highly regarded in the law enforcement community," Walker said in a statement. "His compassion for the department and the citizens of Marathon County will only enhance the sheriff's office and move it forward."

Those that know Parks agree. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel has worked with Parks since the late 80s. He says Park's new position will create a stronger relationship between law enforcement and the community.

"He's a known commodity. They know what kind of person he is and they know what kind of character he has, what his leadership is and his integrity. He's a great fit," Hardel said.

Parks graduated from high school in Marshfield in 1976, served in the Army and graduated from Northcentral Technical College before joining the sheriff's department, according to Frank Matel, the county's director of employee resources.

As chief deputy, Parks earned $91,790, Matel said. Parks' salary as sheriff will be $97,843.

Wausau Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel called Parks a man of integrity.

"His advancement through the ranks of the department, his administrative experience in his current position, his business acumen, his loyalty to the department and community, his consensus-building personality and the trust that he has built within his organization make him a perfect choice for this position," Hardel said.

Twenty-one people applied for the job to replace Hoenisch, according to Walker's office.

Hoenisch won elections as a Democrat. Walker is a Republican. Parks' political affiliation was not immediately known.

Read the letter from Governor Scott Walker: http://www.waow.com/link/634760/new-marathon-county-sheriff  

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