Cass County Board: 2016 record year for calls for service for Sheriff's Dept.
WALKER--Sheriff Tom Burch opened his annual report to the county board Tuesday by stating his department spent less than budgeted in 2016. He also reported increasing reports of frauds and scams, especially those victimizing senior citizens. The ...
WALKER-Sheriff Tom Burch opened his annual report to the county board Tuesday by stating his department spent less than budgeted in 2016.
He also reported increasing reports of frauds and scams, especially those victimizing senior citizens.
The sheriff's deputies' average response time to calls in 2016 was 6.5 minutes. Deputies average 27.32 minutes on the scene once they respond.
Cass County Sheriff's department has a chief deputy, two lieutenants, four sergeants, four investigators, 21 patrol deputies, three recreational deputies, one civil process deputy, one welfare fraud deputy, 12 corrections officers, two transport officers, one sentence to service crew leader, two bailiffs (courthouse security), 11 dispatchers, one emergency management director, four records personnel and one administrative assistant.
The department also has one K-9 named Yankee. The dog is trained in narcotics, obedience, suspect search, evidence search, apprehension, tracking and building searches.
The sheriff's dispatch center receives all emergency calls for service in the county except for Leech Lake Tribal Police Department. This includes not only for policing services, but also for 10 fire departments, ambulances and first response. It takes calls for five city police departments.
The dispatch center took 22,038 initial calls for service in 2016, the most in the last 16 years and up from 21,390 in 2015.
Callers using 911 to seek assistance has increased drastically, with 94.03 percent of those calls now being made from cell phones rather than landlines.
Cass Sheriff's Department gets the most calls in July during tourist season and the fewest in February. The peak time of day the department receives calls is 4-5 p.m. The fewest are at 5 a.m.
Permits to purchase a gun have dropped annually from 507 in 2012 to 407 in 2016, but permits to carry a gun have increased significantly from 243 in 2012 and 428 in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
The sheriff's department cleared 759 warrants for arrest in 2016, but there still remain 998 outstanding.
Citizen volunteers in TRIAD contributed 740 hours to the sheriff's department in 2016; chaplaincy, 332.75 hours; mounted posse, 727.25 hours; Lakes Area Dive Team, 1,147.25 hours; and ATV/Rescue, 224.5 hours.
Volunteers also helped patrol several lakes in the county, including Gull Lake.
The highest number of calls to a township came from Pike Bay near Cass Lake (2,347) and Shingobee near Walker (1,209), with the fewest from Beulah (14) and Smokey Hollow (15).
The highest number of calls to cities was for Cass Lake (2,164), Walker (1,647), Pine River (1,541) and Lakeshore (1,460). The city of Boy River had the fewest (8).
The highest number of calls for service on a lake was the 98 to Leech Lake.
The recreation division keeps boats on Leech, Gull, Woman and Pleasant lakes and in the Outing area. Other sheriff's boats rotate among remaining lakes. Deputies teach boating safety to youth. They inspected 786 resort and rental agency boats in 2016.
They installed 233 open water navigation buoys in summer and 165 "Thin Ice" signs in winter. They issued 49 marine event permits and 1,045 temporary structure/raft permits.
The sheriff received 89 complaints about all-terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles.
Deputies made four arrests and issued 53 warnings. There were 23 ATV crashes.
There were four complaints involving snowmobiles. Deputies issued five written or verbal warnings. One snowmobile accident was reported.
By far, the highest number of calls to dispatchers was for medical service (3,228).
Among the 187 serious crimes in 2016, deputies responded to 25 for assault, 118 for burglary, two for homicide, three for first and second degree criminal vehicular operation, two for kidnapping and 37 for first, second and third degree criminal sexual conduct.
These numbers are down from 253 serious crimes in 2015 and from 325 in both 2011 and 2012.
There were six motor vehicle fatalities in 2016. There were 257 vehicle accidents without injuries and 101 with injuries. There were 227 vehicle crashes with deer that did not result in human injuries, but two did.
Officers arrested 53 people for driving under the influence of alcohol in 2016 who had an average blood alcohol level of 0.16. The highest alcohol level was 0.25.
An average of 110 to 120 registered predatory offenders live in the county. Deputies did 771
compliance checks on those people to ensure their information is current. Five non-compliant
prosecution packets were submitted for prosecution.
The sheriff's office collected 561.83 pounds of unwanted prescription medications at "Take it to the Box" sites at the law enforcement center in Walker, Pine River, Lake Shore and Cass Lake.
Sheriff' Burch contracts to provide patrol services to the cities of Cass Lake, Backus and Longville.
The welfare fraud prevention division checked a total of 133 cases and cited nine for
disqualification for a period of at least one year from benefits. The fraud program prevented
$16,116 from being fraudulently obtained and sent $34,531 overpayments for recovery.
The sheriff's office served 1,416 civil papers in 2016.
Cass County booked 2,519 people into jail in 2016, up from 2,074 in 2015. There was an average of 23 prisoners in Cass County Jail at Walker a day and an average of 52 a day housed
under contract at jails in Crow Wing, Morrison and Hubbard counties.
Cass County Chaplaincy Initiative now offers weekly jail ministry at the jail in Walker.
There has been an upward trend of female inmates, the report states. In September 2016, there was an average of 12.7 females in custody a day and 12.33 males.
Four women and 87 men completed Sentence to Service in 2016. They worked off 740.3 jail days and $3,623.86 in fines. They completed 4,565.5 hours of work for the county, 963.5 hours
for the DNR, 32 hours for other state agencies, 908 hours for cities, 138 hours for townships, 167 hours for the federal government and 1,629 hours for nonprofits.
Emergency Management Director Kerry Swenson, who recently retired, was recognized in September with the Best Practice Awards for Preparedness from the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers.
Deputies checked boats for aquatic invasive species 113.75 hours on nine county lakes.
Medical examiner report
Medical Examiner Michael B. McGee, who contracts services to Cass County, also issued his 2016 report.
There were 102 deaths reported in Cass County in 2016. His office in Ramsey County
accepted 57 Cass decedents for autopsies. Private physicians signed death certificates.
He did 49 complete autopsies with toxicology, one external examination with toxicology, signed seven death certificates without examination.
Of the 102 deaths, 63 were due to natural causes, 27 from accidents, eight from suicide, one from homicide, one undetermined and two were still pending at year end.