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Sheriff's Corner: A snapshot of 2018

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch

As we begin the New Year and work to complete our year end statistics and annual report that will be presented in the coming month to the Cass County Board of Commissioners and published on our website, I would like to share a recap of our activity during 2018. This is a snapshot of some of the activity performed by the Cass County Sheriff's Office during the past year.

Our main method to document and monitor activity is by Initial Complaint Report number. These are also sometimes referred to as calls for service. 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 or fire department. These also include self-initiated responses from officers. Every form of activity that is completed is documented through an ICR number. In 2018, we processed 20,859 ICRs, which is down approximately 1,600 from the previous year. We have perfected the method for documenting activity and creating ICRs for self-initiated contacts and activities. We utilize the system to document a variety of officer and agency activity for quick access and new forms of recordkeeping for our agency and our partner police departments throughout the county. Some of our police department partners were not at full staff for parts of the past year which also contributes to the lower documented ICR count.

Our detention center (jail) had another busy year, booking 2,719 inmates with a daily booking average of 7.45 inmates per day. This is a slight decrease over last year. Drug possession continues to be one of the most common charges, with the month of June being the highest for inmates in jail and November for the least. Our female inmate numbers continue to run high, but are also down from 2017, averaging five female inmates throughout the year compared to 19 male inmates. This is a trend that is being seen statewide. We continue to utilize our contract with Crow Wing County Jail for housing inmates and held on average of 40 inmates per month in their facility.

The patrol division continues to be very busy. In 2018, our patrol division was mostly up to full staff, which is a first in recent years. Traffic and tourism numbers seemed to be higher in our area than they have been in several years. Cass County is a busy place with lots of events happening that require certain responses from our staff. We are proud that we are up to full staff, equipped and current on training and trends to be able to respond to these events and incidents appropriately. Deputies continue to maintain an excellent countywide response time to emergency calls and spend a significant amount of time investigating and following up on these calls. Our Investigations Division has processed and investigated several burglary and drug cases. Our Investigators meet with child protection teams daily to review intakes. They also work closely with intake and social workers investigating allegations of abuse and maltreatment. Deputies completed 899 random predatory offender checks on between 134-140 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, which helps to promote our community policing platform within our agency. Sheriff outreach days were once again held throughout the year. This involves moving our office to other areas in the county for a few hours each month giving citizens the opportunity to visit with staff from the sheriff's office and talk about public safety and other concerns in their neighborhoods.

Our firearms permits are slightly down this year with 318 permits to purchase processed and 395 new permits to carry and 300 renewal carry permits issued. While these numbers are average over the years, we do see an occasional variation in numbers from year to year as carry permits are valid for five years and prior to this year, we processed a larger amount.

Our Civil Process Division processed and served 1,303 legal papers, including an increase in order for protection papers, as well as harassment restraining orders, but overall down slightly from 2017. We continue to see a decrease in mortgage foreclosure sales countywide completing 21 in 2018.

Our Emergency Management Division has completed training, with several projects being finished up and new projects started as well as finalizing emergency plans and responding to weather related emergencies countywide.

We are proud of our partnerships with many volunteer groups that work with us to bring public safety initiatives to Cass County including; Lakes Area Dive Team, Chaplaincy Initiative, TRIAD, Volunteer Boat and Water Patrols, ATV SAR (search and rescue), Posse, and our Emergency Services Board.

Our complete annual report will be completed next month and made available on our website. Once again, we are privileged and grateful to have served the residents and visitors of Cass County in 2018 and years past. We are committed to providing law enforcement and public safety needs to our communities in 2019 and beyond! In 2012, using grant funds we received from the George W. Neilson Foundation for the purchase of a replacement K-9, we were able to obtain Yankee, a 2-year-old German Shepherd. Yankee and Deputy Conner are excited to continue to provide K-9 service to the citizens and visitors of Cass County.

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: by email at tom.burch@co.cass.mn.us; by phone at 218-547-1424 or 800-450-2677; or by mail or in person at the Cass County Sheriff's Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W, P.O. Box No. 1119, Walker, MN, 56484.

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