Letter: Campaign tactics are misleading

Negative campaign tactic are misleading the public and the real facts are important
Challengers in the race for county attorney are presenting “facts” to the community that are misleading and the public deserves the truth. As a 7 ½ year veteran Assistant Mille Lacs County Attorney, I see what Jan Jude and her office do for the community every day.
Budget: The County Attorney’s budget is consistent with the rest of the County growth as all department budgets have increased in the past ten years.   The 2014 Public Safety Expense budget on the county website notes the Attorney’s budget is only 17% of the budget, with the Sheriff’s Department demanding 72%.  Public safety expenses make up just under half of the County’s entire budget.  The County’s 2013 and 2012 budget reports show the public safety budget remaining consistent, with the Attorney’s budget a small percentage of the County’s overall safety expenditures.
Crime Statistics: Over 50% of the cases handled by the Attorney’s office are referred by the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department in the Vineland area, only 1.6% of the County’s total geographic area.  To evaluate our work without Tribal data ignores the tireless efforts our office devotes to this area.  In 2013, Mille Lacs County had 5,336 reported crimes while Benton County had 1,223 and Isanti County had 1,861.
Conviction Rates:  The Mille Lacs County Comprehensive Plan completed with a professional planning consultant lists conviction rates for our office at 74%, with Benton County at 66% and Morrison County at 64%.  In 2014 alone, I have delivered one felony jury trial conviction and two felony convictions with Defendant’s pleading guilty during trial. I am only one of five jury trial attorneys producing similar results.
From 2012 to 2013, child abuse crimes reported by the Tribal police reduced by 43% and domestic violence crimes dropped by 30%.  We focused on protecting children and families and our aggressive approach is working- now is not the time to abandon our leader.  Vote Jan Jude on August 12 and November 4.

Melissa Saterbak, Foreston

Editor’s note: Saterbak is an assistant attorney in the Mile Lacs County Attorney Office.