Serious crime down in county

The Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department responded to 11,702 calls in 2012, 2,500 more than in the previous year.

Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren, holding one of the new 800 MHz radios last week.
Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren.

Of those, 3,967 were considered Part 1 and Part 2, or more serious incidents, Sheriff Brent Lindgren reported in his annual report to the Mille Lacs County Board at its Feb. 5 meeting. That number was down from 4,747 in 2011.

Those are the crimes that are reported to the FBI, Sheriff Lindgren said in an interview Monday.

“I think the thing I wanted to hit [in the report],” Lindgren said, “was that a lot of people keep saying that crime is down. But a lot of our crimes were up.”

For example, there were 238 burglaries reported in 2012, 64 more than in 2011. There were 294 thefts, 70 more than in 2011, and 365 disturbing-the-peace complaints, compared to 235 in 2011.

There were 11 robberies in 2012, up from 3 the year before, and 3 kidnappings, compared to none in 2011.

Lindgren’s office keeps track of ICRs  (incident complaint reports) in its records management system for all police agencies in the county.

There were 27,590 in 2012, up 17 percent from the total of 23,580 in 2011.

There were 5,780 from the Princeton Police Department last year, 4,612 from the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department, 2,949 from the Milaca Police Department, 1,914 from the Isle Police Department and 633 from the Onamia Police Department.

There were 2,481 adults and 117 juveniles booked into the county jail in 2012, with an average daily population of 79.

The county boarded 313 inmates for other counties, resulting in $292,640 in boarding fees. The majority came from Stearns County which paid $184,950 in boarding fees.

In addition, there were $20,124 in booking fees, $1,204 in miscellaneous recovered fees, and $7,101 in Pay to Stay fees for total revenue of $321,070 in 2012.

The Sentence to Serve program, in which inmates work at jobs around the county for various entities, provided 938 hours of service, with an estimated value of $26,120.


Justice Center

screening found many unwanted items

Lindgren told commissioners that, in the second full year of providing security at the Mille Lacs County Justice Center, there were about 55,270 people screened at the main security checkpoint.

The screening is for contraband and items prohibited by the court, along with items that could be used to cause disturbances or create an unsafe environment.

Some of the items found: 362 knives, 126 cameras, 90 electronic items, 55 improvised weapons, 39 scissors, 30 canisters of pepper spray or mace, 26 laptop computers, 15 box cutters, numerous drug paraphernalia, several rounds of ammunition, 1 Taser and 1 handgun.

Deputies provided security for the three judges assigned to the county, with more than 30 jury trials.

They also made 66 arrests in the Justice Center, the majority for individuals who had outstanding warrants as they entered, not only from Mille Lacs County but other Minnesota counties.

Deputies traveled more than 98,000 miles throughout Minnesota and neighboring states while transporting 1,209 individuals on 983 trips. There was one attempted escape.


K-9 unit active in 2012

Deputy Kyle Burton and his K-9 dog Yazz spent 115 hours on 76 K-9 service calls in 2012, both in Mille Lacs County and surrounding counties.

Lindgren explained to commissioners that sometimes Burton and Yazz help out in other counties, and sometimes other counties help out here.

They conducted narcotics searches for deputies, police departments and the North Central Drug Task Force, and were successful in locating narcotics on many of those searches.

They also conducted school searches in Onamia, Isle and Princeton.

In a related matter, agents of the drug task force conducted 135 investigations in 2012. Eighty-five of those arrested were charged with felonies.

Total street value of marijuana, meth, heroin and  pills seized in 2012 totaled about $214,000.


Financial crimes


Lindgren said that as the economy worsened, financial crimes seemed to increase, with identity theft and check forgery involved in the majority of such cases.

There were 74 cases in Mille Lacs County titled fraud/forgery/scam.

The amount of money taken ranged from as low as $20 to nearly $1 million in a case of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

There were 97 cases investigated by the financial crimes unit in Mille Lacs County, one case in which more than $30,000 was lost in a single check transaction.

Notable cases, Lindgren said, were a teacher from Onamia High School convicted of embezzling more than $24,000 from the teachers union, a woman pleading guilty to thousands of dollars in welfare fraud, and the 78-year-old man being exploited by a county resident for nearly $1 million in cash and property.