Sheriff's Corner: A look back at 2014
It was another busy year in 2014 for the Cass County Sheriff's office. Our annual report has been completed and will be presented to the county board of commissioners and available on our website and Facebook page soon. I would like to give you a...
It was another busy year in 2014 for the Cass County Sheriff's office.
Our annual report has been completed and will be presented to the county board of commissioners and available on our website and Facebook page soon. I would like to give you a snapshot of some of our activities of the sheriff's office and associated initiatives.
It was a busy year for almost every division of the sheriff's office. We processed 19,407 ICRs (Initial Complainant Reports). While this number is down roughly 400 from the previous year, it is still the third highest since 1995 when we started tracking statistics. The ICRs are a variety of calls for service that our dispatch center receives that requires some sort of action; whether it be from a sheriff's deputy, a local police department, an ambulance call or a fire call. These also count self-initiated responses from officers. Pike Bay Township led the count with the most ICRS (2,295); Beulah Township had the least (18). We continue to see and project an upward trend in receiving and processing ICRs.
Seeing the most increase for service in 2014 was our detention center, with average daily booking counts at approximately six inmates per day. Through the year, an average of 22 inmates were held in our detention center in Walker daily and 49 being held through our contract service at the Crow Wing County detention center. May 2014 was the lowest number of booking and October 2014 was the highest. This trend is projected to continue keeping our detention center staff and administration continuously busy. Along with our detention center, our STS (Sentence to Serve) Crew has completed another year of successful projects totaling over 8,000 of hours worked on government and nonprofit projects. This allowed offenders to work off over $13,000 in fines.
Another trend that we see continuing to be high is permit to purchase and carry firearms applications. There were 460 purchase permits issued (these expire yearly) and 361 permit to carry permits were issued. Although the permits to carry were down slightly, once issued they are valid for five years.
Our Recreation Division was very active during the past year patrolling the waterways and trails in Cass County. Our deputies reported seeing more boating traffic than in recent years. We are happy to report that Cass County did not have a lake drowning incident in 2014. In addition to no fatalities, fortunately we did not have any serious boating related injury crashes. We have seen a significant increase in utility side-by-side vehicles on our trails and roadways. Some laws on these vehicles and where they can be legally used can be confusing. A large amount of our contacts with these types of vehicles is educational in nature. We request that prior to venturing out on class one or two vehicles, you have a good understanding of where they can be legally ridden. Several boat and water safety classes, as well as talks, were given and we partnered with snowmobile and OHV clubs on providing safety training and certifications for youth operators.
The sheriff's office arrested and processed 113 impaired drivers in 2014, with the average blood alcohol level being 0.18, which is more than two times the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. The highest test was 0.31. In December, the Cass County Sheriff's office was selected to receive the Outstanding Agency Award for fourth Quarter TZD (Toward Zero Death) grant. This award is part of the new Agency Recognition Project that replaces previous recognition programs. The nomination was made by Frank Scherf, northeast Minnesota Law Enforcement liaison and approved by the Department of Public Safety/Office of Traffic Safety. I am proud of the agency's accomplishments and involvement in the Toward Zero Death Enforcement program, including DUI and seat belt enforcement.
Our civil process division processed and served a total of 1,256 processes and completed 63 mortgage foreclosure sales (down from 100 in 2013).
The patrol division continues to be very busy. I am proud of the work and accomplishments when seeing reports and looking at crime clearance rates. Deputies continue to improve response times to calls for service countywide and spend a significant amount of time investigating and following up on these calls. Our investigations division has processed and investigated several drug cases and several convictions were awarded. Several ongoing and pending investigations continue. Deputies completed 639 random predatory offender checks on between 110-119 Level Unassigned, 1, 2, and 3 offenders living in our county. Our deputies also attend city and township meetings, as well as community and school events and functions, helping to promote our community policing platform within our agency.
We are proud of our relationships with the cities of Cass Lake and Backus that contract with the sheriff's office for law enforcement services. Our successful partnership with Cass Lake since 2008, was renewed for another five years of service and we completed our first year in the city of Backus, providing 1,490 hours of documented patrol in the Backus community.
Our K-9 Yankee and handler attended and achieved successful training certifications and awards and continue to be an asset to the citizens of Cass County through daily work of drug interdiction and suspect locating and apprehension. The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) trains monthly and is responsible for high risk situation call outs and completed several successful missions in 2014.
Our monthly Community Outreach Days have been successful and well received and we have visited with several residents. Our Facebook and website continue to be a tool for us to share updated and instant information and gain feedback about our operations.
We are grateful to have served the residents and visitors of Cass County in 2014 and years past and we look forward to providing public safety needs to our communities in 2015.
A full copy of our 2014 annual report will be available on our website at www.casssheriff.com
If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, please feel free to contact me anytime using one of the following methods: email: tom.burchCass County Sheriff's Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W., P.O. Box No. 1119 Walker, MN 56484.