Police and Neighbors Worried About Mark Staskal Release

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Eau Claire Police and neighbors are expressing their concerns about Mark Staskal's move to Eau Claire. Wednesday Eau Claire Deputy Chief Brad Venaas testified in Janesville against Staskal's release to the Bernice-Genevieve Foundation group home. Staskal killed his sister in 1984, but was found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Deputy Chief Brad Venaas says the home is not an adequate place for Staskal to be looked after. He says Staskal is only coming here because the group home managers volunteered to bring him in and they should of talked to neighbors and the police first. People living in the neighborhood tell NewsCenter that safety and supervision are their major concerns.

Becky Reciborski, who lives in the neighborhood, says "I don’t think they are capable of supervising what they have already."

Venaas adds "the biggest thing that we were concerned with was just the lack of community involvement."

Neighbors say they feel blind-sided by this placement. They say the managers of the group home Amy Golla and Amy Tomsyck have gone too far and are in over their heads.

Venaas says "they already have four clients and so they're bringing in a fifth client."

And he says the group home only requires one person to be on duty at any given time yet Staskal requires 24-hour supervision.

Venaas says "we just didn't feel that they had enough experience and ability to handle somebody like Mark Staskal."

Venaas says Staskal will be wearing an ankle bracelet that will be monitored by the Department of Corrections in Madison but police still wonder what authority they have in this case.

Venaas asks "who is responsible for him? Is it the police, the group home the state department of health and family services? Who’s going to come looking for him when he violates that rule?”

Venaas says the group home managers have a limited background in mental health and neighbors feel they are only taking Staskal in for the money.

Venaas says "we would have preferred him not coming to Eau Claire. He wasn't an Eau Claire problem 24 years ago why he becomes one today."

NewsCenter 13I spoke to one of the mangers, Amy Tomczyk, Thursday night and she said right now they can't comment on the situation but will put out a statement when they can. A neighbor tells us there's a petition worked up to try to put a stop Staska from moving into the neighborhood. Venaas says he'll probably move in sometime next week.

Mark Staskal will be living under certain restrictions in Eau Claire.

The Department of Health and Family Services says Staskal has to wear a G.P.S. ankle bracelet 24-hours a day, there will be face to face monitoring of Staskal, restrictions on where he can go in Eau Claire, he will have to be escorted to all appointments and Staskal will have to continue his treatment.

If he fails to follow any of these conditions, he'll be taken into custody, and returned to in-patient care.

Stephanie Marquis, Spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services says "we take protecting the public's safety very seriously. When a court grants conditional release from a state mental health institute, we implement a conditional release plan that helps safeguard the public. The plan includes regular face-to-face monitoring of the patient, restricting where they can go in the community, escorting them to appointments, and electronic monitoring."

For see a copy of the testimony by Deputy Chief Brad Venaas scroll down to related links.

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