Chippewa County (WQOW) -- There's been a record number of felony cases in Chippewa County in 2017.
As of Friday, the last day of court for the year in the county, more than 770 felony charges have been filed this year. That's up from the 592 cases filed last year, which was about 50 more felony charges than were filed in 2015.
Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell told News 18 the continuous increase of felony charges has a lot to do with the area's growing meth problem. And he said the more meth cases they have, the more meth-related charges they file, like property crimes and theft.
That means an even bigger work load for an already busy DA's office.
"I have hundreds of cases that I deal with in a year, and so if I add more onto that it isn't that I get more resources to deal with those more cases, I just have to make due with what I have," Newell said.
He also told News 18 the community plays a big role in solving the meth problem, which he hopes will ultimately bring down the county's rising rate of felony charges. He said people can rent to or employ individuals in recovery in an effort to end the cycle of drug abuse.
He also encourages everyone to attend a community town hall next month that will discuss the meth problem.
The meeting is set for Thursday, January 25 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. It will be held in the large gymnasium at Stillson Elementary School in Lake Wissota and is sponsored by the Chippewa County Drug Endangered Children Team.