Sheriff's Corner: Cass County sheriff shares a recap of 2022
Gun permit applications, serious traffic crashes, ATV complaints and drug overdose calls increasing
Once again, as we begin the new year and completed our year-end statistics and annual report that was presented to the Cass County Board of Commissioners and published on our website, I would like to share a recap of sheriff’s office activity during 2022.
Our annual report with numbers and statistics from our townships and cities are compiled and sent to the clerks of those government units for review at their annual meetings in March.
In 2022, we handled 19,568 initial complainant reports (ICRs), down 1,100 from 2021, but average compared to prepandemic totals. This is a signal of a return to prepandemic levels.
Detention center bookings and daily housing numbers are starting to trend back to normal levels as restrictions were lifted. Daily average booking numbers are trending higher and our Sentence to Serve crews were back to steady daily participant numbers.
Trending down from 2021, we processed 41,589 calls to 911 from cellular phones in 2022 and 1,965 calls from landlines. We received 95% of our 911 calls from cellular phones.
Saturday was our busiest day for 911 calls received and Wednesday had the least amount of daily 911 calls. An increase in calls was seen from 3-9 p.m., peaking from 6-8 p.m. daily.
We continue to receive and process a large number of gun permit to purchase and permit to carry applications. Permit to carry applications continue to show an increase in 2022, processing 366 permit to purchase applications and 1,077 permit to carry applications.
Traffic crashes with injuries, both statewide and within Cass County, continue to trend much higher than average. In 2022, we responded to and investigated 86 crashes with injuries and 202 without injuries.
The state continues to report that statewide crashes and high speeds remain. Four motor vehicle fatality crashes were investigated within Cass County.
A serious increase in overdose related medical calls and deaths are being observed regionwide, most due to the use of fentanyl.
We responded to 113 medical related overdose calls, with four resulting in death. Narcan (Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose) was noted to be used/administered on 117 calls in 2022.
We are currently working with our regional and tribal partners to develop and implement strategies to respond to this epidemic
An increase in all-terrain vehicle traffic and complaints was observed year-round throughout the county, consistent with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources off-highway vehicle/ATV registration and use data.
The rise in traffic on our trails, roadways and public property has created a variety of new issues and need for additional education and enforcement. Several highly visible OHV enforcement and educational saturations were conducted in high traffic and complaint areas in 2022 yielding successful results.
Four fatal OHV crashes were investigated in Cass County in 2022, three of which resulted from speed and alcohol, and at least three where riders were operating alone.
Utilizing our automatic vehicle locator, the concept of drawn patrol lines in response areas disappear and the closest squad — including deputies, supervisors and investigators — is sent to the call for service.
Our average on scene times show that we spend a large amount of time on scene with investigations and follow-ups, meeting with victims, collecting evidence, investigating suspects and conducting follow-up.
Overall average response time to incidents was 7.82 minutes and average time spent on scene was 35 minutes.
Two investigators have been assigned to narcotics investigations, which has been very beneficial to the enforcement and investigation into the use and sales of narcotics, illegal substances and associated crimes.
In 2022, this unit again produced some impressive results. Investigators and deputies completed dozens of search warrant applications and executions, resulting in several pounds of a variety of illegal drugs and substances seized, along with cash and firearms.
Not unique to Cass County, the region or even the state, licensed staff retention continues to be very good, while we see some turnover in nonlicensed positions.
Recruiting and hiring qualified applicants proves to be a local, regional and statewide issue. Deputy personnel assigned to campus security and safety screens for entry to courtrooms continues to be effective.
Most of our volunteer programs, outreach and partnerships were scaled back or on pause in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the intent to help keep our partners safe. We are looking forward to getting these programs and initiatives started fully again in 2023.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is supported by several volunteer functions and we are fortunate to have these countywide partnerships to assist us in the delivery of public safety and law enforcement services.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; call 218-547-1424 or 1-800-450-2677; or mail or visit in person the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W or P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN 56484.
Bryan Welk is the Cass County sheriff.