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Cass County Board: State awards alcohol testing devices to county

BACKUS - Frank Sherf, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, presented five alcohol breath testing devices to Cass County Sheriff's Department at Tuesday's county board meeting.

BACKUS - Frank Sherf, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, presented five alcohol breath testing devices to Cass County Sheriff's Department at Tuesday's county board meeting.

The presentation is in recognition of Cass Sheriff's Department being one of eight agencies statewide to be recognized as an outstanding agency in implementing the Toward Zero Deaths enforcement program in the fourth quarter.

Sherf said the state's high for traffic deaths in a year is 655. Since implementing a major effort to prevent accidents and deaths from traffic accidents, that number of deaths has come down to 359 in 2014.

In addition to law enforcement ticketing for driving while intoxicated, not wearing seatbelts and other offenses, Sherf attributed the drop in highway fatalities to a statewide program to ensure everyone can reach a trauma center by ground or air within one hour of a crash.

Sheriff Tom Burch obtained county board approval to increase the value of hours inmates work in the sentence to serve program. The inmates pay rate will rise from $8 per hour to $10.

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During 2014, 102 inmates completed time on sentence to serve. They paid off $13,321 in fines and worked off 323 jail days.

They put in 5,403 hours on projects for the county, 912 hours for the DNR, 818 hours for nonprofit agencies, 791 hours for cities, 80 hours for townships and 20 hours for other state agencies.

Emergency Management Coordinator Kerry Swenson presented an Emergency Management Shelter Plan and a Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The shelter plan outlines how the county would provide shelter for 3,000 people if a major disaster hit the area. That plan will be presented to FEMA for approval.

Already approved by FEMA and the state is the county's hazard mitigation plan. That plan, which took 18 months to write, needs to be updated every five years. Having this plan would speed federal response to any disaster to hit the county, Swenson said.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY BOARD
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