County to establish diversion program for some driving offenders

Those who have committed misdemeanors for driving with revoked or suspended licenses will have an opportunity to avoid court proceedings in Crow Wing County.

Those who have committed misdemeanors for driving with revoked or suspended licenses will have an opportunity to avoid court proceedings in Crow Wing County.

The Crow Wing County Board approved an agreement Tuesday with Diversion Solutions, a Red Wing-based company that provides driving education and supports driver's license reinstatement for offenders.

County Attorney Don Ryan said the program, which is available to those who carry Class D driver's licenses, would come at no cost to the county and is supported through fees paid by participants.

"The county attorneys I've spoken to around the state that already have this program in place, they have been very successful," Ryan said.

According to literature from the company, 67 percent of participants become and remain valid drivers while enrolled in the diversion program. The program leads to a noticeable reduction in caseloads and time spent in court and also reduces recidivism, or repeat offenses.


"Many times, those people are on probation for other items," Ryan said. "They assist them with clearing up all their other probationary situations that are sitting out there as well."

Diversion Solutions maintains contact with offenders to ensure they are making payments on fines associated with their offense.

The company's website states, "It helps break the cycle of repeat offenders who may owe thousands of dollars because they keep driving without a valid license, many times simply to get to work."

The Minnesota Legislature gave counties and cities authorization to establish license reinstatement diversion programs. Crow Wing County will have the opportunity to enroll up to 25 participants each month, and the program fee will be $350 each. Of this fee, $100 will be paid to the county and the remaining $250 will go to Diversion Solutions.

The board also approved a contract with recently retired State Trooper Curt Mowers to continue teaching "Alive at 25," a course designed for young drivers. The county refers juveniles who commit traffic-related offenses to the program.

When Mowers retired, the State Patrol indicated there would not be a replacement instructor and the program would discontinue.

"It has been a very beneficial program and we want to see it maintained," Ryan said.

The program will be funded through forfeiture dollars and will not cost taxpayers anything, he said.


In other business, the board:

Tabled awarding a contract for road maintenance in the First and Second Assessment Districts, following the board's concerns about ditch mowing costs. The board will take up the contract at its next board meeting with further information from the proposed contractor.

Approved requesting a speed study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation for County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 3 from CSAH 66 to CSAH 1. A previous study was conducted in 2010, but due to realignment as part of the road's construction, the highway department recommended seeking a new study to determine appropriate speeds.

Authorized the land services department to seek two grants from the Clean Water Fund to conduct additional water quality studies on area lakes and to support promotion of the county's water plan.

Approved a final plat for the Wilderness Acres, a 6.37-acre plat consisting of four commercial lots on County Road 77 and Wilderness Way.

Approved the establishment of Wilderness Way as a town road in the First Assessment District, contingent upon the developer, B-Dirt Construction, addressing minor seeding and erosion control items.

Accepted a $250 donation from the city of Fifty Lakes to the Crow Wing County Mounted Patrol.

Approved a new tobacco license for CI Convenience in Crosby.


Approved non-motorized trail permits for Crosslake's Nordic Ridge Recreational Area and for Edgewild Resort in Fifty Lakes.

Proclaimed Oct. 5-11 "National 4-H Week" in Crow Wing County. The county's 4-H program currently has 325 youth members and around 100 adult volunteers.

Accepted a request by the information technology department to hire an IT technical support intern.

Approved the hiring of Samantha Hess as a technical/administrative specialist in the customer service division of community services.

Accepted the departures of Antonette Gall, financial worker in community services, and Lance Hoss, 911 communications officer in the sheriff's office.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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