Criminal investigations related to technology may get a boost

The money would help purchase hardware and software used in crimes involving technology and, the sheriff’s department noted, allow them to be more effective.

Crow Wing County Board members sit behind a long desk.
Crow Wing County Board members Paul Koering, left, Jon Lubke, Chair Rosemary Franzen, Steve Barrows and Doug Houge meet April 25, 2023, in the historic courthouse in Brainerd.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — The Crow Wing County Board supported the sheriff’s department in seeking a Sourcewell community match grant up to $10,000 for crime investigation.

The money would help purchase hardware and software used in crimes involving technology and, the sheriff’s department noted, allow them to be more effective.

“Currently, almost every crime we investigate has technology intertwined because of the use of cellphones,” Capt. Adam Kronstedt noted in a written report to the board. “Cellphone data is critical in just about every investigation. One recent example is the homicide we investigated in which we were able to locate the victim’s buried body. This was all done with a program called Cellhawk and being able to get into a locked iPhone using a program called Greykey.”

The grant is sought to purchase Greykey and renew use of Cellhawk. The sheriff’s department reported needing $22,800 for the hardware and programs with $13,300 budgeted for technology for investigations. The matching funds, Kronstedt noted, would allow the department to purchase the technology without added cost to the budget.

In other business, the County Board:


In personnel changes: noted the resignation of Nathan Bertram, adult mental health supervisor, as of May 5; resignation of Cindi Hills, assistant county attorney, as of May 5; departure of John Bowen, emergency management director, as of May 19. New hires included: Amber Stroschein, public health nurse; Sheri Withhart, program specialist with Community Services; Marie Setness, social worker. Promotions noted Steven Timblin to environmental services specialist, Kaskey Lindroth, financial worker.

Approved a new tobacco license application for Chollys Farm LLC, Garrison Township.

Approved hiring an additional social worker. In a report to the board, Kara Terry, community services director, stated, “Feedback we have received from our law enforcement partners has been positive and they have expressed the need for additional time and attention to mental health related calls. Adding one additional social work position allows for increased coverage and response. We continue to rely on our Mobile Crisis team for after hours and weekend response as well. We will utilize the existing budget allocated for this project as well as shift funds from another ARPA project (mental health probation agent) we have decided to end.” The position is expected to start in June. Adding this additional position will result in an increase of $53,903 overall for this project. The total annual salary is $65,081.74.

Approved entering into an agreement with Region Five counties to seek funding for a children’s mental health service option for youth.

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Approved the final plat for Sportsmans Storage. The plan calls for 16 lots in Mission Township at 29036 County Highway 3.

“For those familiar, it's the old sportsman’s store up there,” said Chris Pence, environmental services manager. There is a developer’s agreement for the project. Pence said they are selling individual lots and creating storage buildings for private use. Commissioner Jon Lubke said, as this project is in his district, he spent a lot of time looking at the plan. Lubke said a lot of work went into putting it together with work to contain stormwater and be mindful of the area.

Set a May 9 public hearing to consider changes to the golf cart ordinance. An amendment was proposed to allow all golf cart ordinance related decisions in the First Assessment District and the Second Assessment District to fall under the County Board’s responsibility. A 30-day comment period ended April 20.

Agreed to transfer $96,120 from First Assessment District funds to the highway fund for $54,107 in administration costs, $26,061 in construction costs and $16,953 for maintenance costs related to 2022.


Transferred $8,670 from the Second Assessment District to highway funds to cover $6,124 in administration costs, $255 in construction costs and $2,291 in maintenance costs for 2022.

Tabled a transfer of costs for a Ditch 13 maintenance contract. The request from the Highway Department was for $762 for labor, equipment and other costs related to upkeep of Ditch 13, The board tabled the item because the scope of work changed but the price was not altered with it. The issue is expected back before the board May 9.

Awarded the contract for signal improvements at county highways 49/77 and Highway 371 to Holden Electric for $50,177. Holden Electric was the low bidder. Work is expected to begin about May 1 and be completed by Oct. 31.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter @DispatchBizBuzz.

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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