Sheriff Cole Issues Third Quarter Report –
Hello Pine County,
As your Sheriff, I write a quarterly column to keep you updated on current events within the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office has now completed a very busy July, August and September of the third quarter.
The first day of July saw major storms move through our county leaving a large path of destruction resulting in an ongoing clean up effort. A deadly ATV accident and a drowning on the Willow River marked July Fourth. These events displayed the dedication of our volunteer firefighters. It was an honor to watch the tireless efforts of these men and women.
The Independence Day celebration in Finlayson started the festival season of community fairs and parades leading to the Pine County and Askov Fairs. The volunteer Posse was on duty at all the events, providing several hundred hours of service. This substantial police presence kept the events calm and safe at a minimal cost.
Several serious criminal incidents occurred during the quarter, all of which were solved by arrest. Investigators also made arrests in connection with a rash of burglaries in the county. These arrests resulted in the recovery of a large amount of stolen property. We also started the process of reinstating drug investigations in the county. These efforts have already led to several arrests, with the seizure of drugs and money.
Work continued on implementation of the new 800 MHz radio network that will modernize our two-way radio system. The Chief Deputy and myself spent a substantial amount of time managing personnel issues over the past three months. The third quarter saw the retirement of Investigator Bret Grinde, a thirty year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. Three Deputy Sheriff positions were backfilled and a Deputy’s employment was terminated. Our nine new part time Deputies completed their field training, and began working shifts under the supervision of their District Sergeants.
For 2012, I have requested an overall budget that is less then one percent higher then this year’s budget. My proposed budget includes four new full time Deputies and the replacement of six worn out patrol cars. If we did not need to replace patrol cars my request for 2012 would be $30,000.00 less then this years budget.
My goal is to provide at least four Deputies on patrol at all times in greater Pine County and to continue contracting with our three current police contract towns. This provides between seven and eleven Deputies on patrol from 5 o’clock in the evening and 3 o’clock in the morning. This is the staffing plan we have been running for the last three months, and is directly responsible for our ability to respond, investigate and solve crimes in a timely manner.
For the first three quarters (75%) of 2011, overall the Sheriff’s Office has expended 72% of our budget and because of on target revenues our net expenditure is 70% of our yearly budget. We have spent the following percentage of each budget (net): Sheriff 67%, Corrections 76%, and Dispatch 66%. Overtime costs are at 60%, fuel and vehicle maintenance totals are at 111% of the budgeted yearly total.
We are becoming a responsive police agency and this requires providing police staffing that reflects the changing realities of today. In the last nine months we have worked hard to align our resources to provide visible, responsive and timely service. Please listen for weekly updates and additional information, during the Pine County Sheriff’s Report, Thursday mornings at 0730 on WCMP radio.
Sheriff Robin Cole