Cass County Board: New sheriff delivers first annual report

Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk told board members calls his office receives are back to pre-pandemic normal levels, although calls in 2022 were down 1,100 compared to 2021.

Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

BACKUS — Just shy of two months on the job, Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk is already recapping a year’s worth of work by his department.

Welk, elected sheriff in the Nov. 8 general election and sworn into office in January, delivered his first annual report Tuesday, Feb. 21, to the Cass County Board.

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The number of zoning permits issued, however, showed a slight increase over 2021.
In 2022 a total of 34 juveniles/children who were screened went into an out-of-home placement for over 30 days, which is the same number as 2021.
County probation tracks clients for up to three years after release from probation to verify recidivism rates.
$265,000 in American Rescue Plan Act grant funding goes to seven groups.
Three American Rescue Plan Act grant applications were approved for Pine River-Backus Schools, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School and the Federal Dam Volunteer Fire Department.

Welk told board members that calls his office receives are back to pre-pandemic normal levels, although calls in 2022 were down 1,100 compared to 2021, with 19,568 initial complaint reports initiated last year. Welk said last year’s numbers are on par with previous years.

Out of the 43,554 911 calls received by the sheriff’s office, 41,589 — about 95% — of 911 calls are from cellular phones, Welk said, with Saturday continuing to be the busiest day and Wednesday being the slowest day for calls. The busiest hours are 3-9 p.m., with 6-8 p.m. being the peak. In response to that information, Welk said he adjusted the schedules by having more deputies on the road during these times of the day.

The processing of gun permits continued to rise during 2022, Welk said, with the department processing 366 permit to purchase applications and 1,077 permit to carry applications.


Traffic crashes with injuries also continue to increase both statewide and within Cass County, with the sheriff’s office responding to 86 crashes with injuries and 202 without injuries in 2022. There were four motor vehicle fatality crashes within Cass County last year.

An increase in overdose-related medical calls and deaths, mainly due to use of fentanyl, across the region is a serious concern, Welk said. Cass County responded to 113 medical related overdose calls, with four resulting in death. The department administered naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, on a total of 117 calls during 2022.

The county continues to see an increase in all-terrain vehicle traffic and complaints year-round, with a rise in traffic on trails, roadways and public property. This has created a variety of new issues for the department, Welk said, and a need for additional education and enforcement. During 2022 there were four fatal off-highway vehicle crashes investigated in which three of them were due to speeding and alcohol.

During the meeting, the board also established a committee of the board, with Commissioners Jeff Peterson and Bob Kangas volunteering, regarding an ATV Ordinance for Cass County. This committee will work with the Land Department, Sheriff’s Office and Highway Department to create an ordinance on ATV usage due to the increase in activity over the last three years. Kangas suggested looking at neighboring states for recommendations as he has traveled to Wisconsin and there seem to be good rules and regulations there.

For a complete list of calls and to learn more about the sheriff’s programs, see the full sheriff’s report at .

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