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Cass sheriff issues 2011 report

WALKER – Sheriff Tom Burch reported Tuesday to the Cass County Board in an annual report that his department received 17,451 calls for service in 2011.

This is up slightly from the 16,951 calls in 2010, but well below the peak 21,207 calls received in 2006, the highest rate in the last 17 years. These calls include those for services from the sheriff, city police, fire and ambulance services.

Townships with the highest number of calls were Pike Bay, 1,809; Shingobee, 982; Turtle Lake, 795; and Sylvan, 649. Cities with the highest number of calls were Cass Lake, 1,674; Pine River, 1,279; Walker, 1,160; and Lake Shore, 656.

In addition the sheriff’s staff served 1,801 civil papers and processed 124 mortgage foreclosure sales in 2011. There were 680 new warrants entered in Cass County and 839 warrants cleared by arrest, the person turning themselves in to authorities or by paying bail.

The sheriff’s office processed 223 firearms permits to carry and 285 permits to purchase during the year.

The department inspected 763 boats at resorts and rental agencies, gave 30 presentations/classes on water safety, placed 236 navigation buoys and signs/markers, placed 180 thin ice warning signs and issued 80 event permits and 1,051 raft permits.

The sheriff submitted 416 case files to the county attorney for consideration of felony and gross misdemeanor charges. Another 828 misdemeanor charges were processed.

The following volunteers and their service hours and training to assist the sheriff included: chaplaincy, 352.5 hours; dive team, 1,405.5; posse, 900; TRIAD (sheriff and senior citizen program), 622; and water patrol, 631.

Deputies conducted 304 documented compliance checks on Levels 1, 2 and 3 registered predatory offenders since starting these compliance checks in August 2011. From those checks, 10 packets were submitted for prosecution as non-compliant.

Cass County had 1,925 jail bookings in 2011. On average, Cass had 14.98 prisoners housed per month at the jail in Walker and 37.68 in Crow Wing County Jail. The highest monthly average of inmates was June and the lowest, October.

During 2011, the sentence to serve crew had 127 court-ordered male participants who worked 6,117 hours and paid off $12,305 of fines by their work in the program.

Burch said the sheriff’s expenditures during 2011 ran $239,000 under budget projections.

The sheriff’s department has three districts, with each assigned seven deputies who work shifts throughout a 24-hour period. There also is one floating sergeant position. Three additional deputies are assigned to work in the city of Cass Lake under contract with that city.

In addition to responding to calls, deputies while on patrol attend township and city council meetings, check business doors and make predatory offender checks. Average response time to calls is 15 minutes, with an average of 44 minutes spent at the scene.

Approximately 500 personnel in all emergency response agencies in the county have completed an 8-hour training course about operating the county’s new ARMER 800 MHZ radio system, which went into operation earlier this year.

The sheriff’s and health service’s Take It to the Box initiative to collect outdated and no-longer-needed medications from the public will expand from the collection site at the sheriff’s office in Walker to a new collection site at Lake Shore City Hall. The second site will open later this month during regular city hall business hours.

Cass’s sheriff’s office has started a Facebook page for news release information and photos as well as day to day happenings. A new website is under construction. Burch also writes a regular newspaper column.

Lieutenant Joel Norenberg reported to the board a recent state rule compliance inspection of Cass’s jail facility at Walker resulted in a 100 percent compliance rate for mandatory criteria and a 90 percent rate for essential criteria. He said jail staff had completed the actions, but failed to document those actions, which led to the 10 percent reduction from a perfect score.

Michael McGee, contracting medical examiner, reported 62 people died of natural causes in Cass County in 2011, with another 16 from accidents, five from suicide, two homicide and two undetermined causes.

The medical examiner conducted complete autopsies with toxicology on 36 decedents and signed seven death certificates without examination. Private physicians signed death certificates for the remaining decedents.

McGee’s office reviewed 114 cases for cremation approval.