Sheriff getting tough on offenders

Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren has received the County Board’s OK to add an investigator position starting June 1 to Lindgren’s new Violent Offender Apprehension Unit.
Lindgren was before the commissioners on April 15 seeking an investigator position for the unit that would focus on criminal sexual conduct, elder and child abuse, person crimes and maltreatment.
The board’s approval of the new investigator means eliminating a deputy position, but not a deputy, as a deputy would be promoted to become the investigator.
Lindgren also touched on some history of investigator positions in his department, namely that the department once functioned well with only two general investigator positions. But since then, “times have changed,” with specialized investigation of crimes demanding more specialization and dedicated investigation efforts.
The investigator will be collaborating with child protection, forensics, county attorneys, sheriffs and other law enforcement. Lindgren noted that his department investigated 417 cases of criminal sexual conduct, child and elder abuse, maltreatment and person crimes in 2013.
Lindgren said he conferred with assistant county attorneys in 2011, and county family services child protection staff members in 2012 and 2013 and determined that the new investigator position is needed. He also met with Commissioners Dave Oslin and Tim Wilhelm during budget negotiations in 2013 and asked for the new investigator position to be budgeted in 2014.
Promoting a deputy to the new investigator position will mean an additional cost of about $1,075 during fiscal year 2014. The extra cost in 2015 will be about $2,000, Lindgren added.
Commissioner Roger Tellinghuisen asked if there are now more criminal sexual conduct cases than years ago. Lindgren responded that there are, due to population increase and more mandatory reporting.
Board Chair Phil Peterson asked how many of the 417 cases in 2013 were actual crimes. Almost 40 of them were child abuse, and there were 200 cases of elder abuse and maltreatment referrals, Lindren said.