Sheriff Cole Releases Third Quarter Report
Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole has released his quarterly report for quarter three in Pine County. Cole will also appear on WCMP tomorrow morning for the Pine County Sheriff’s Report.
“As Pine County Sheriff, I write a quarterly column to update residents on current events within the Sheriff’s Office.
The third quarter of 2013 started with the discovery of a homemade explosive device at Robinson Park in Pine City and the armed robbery of a saloon in Willow River. Both these incidents were thoroughly investigated, but remain unsolved.
In late June our drug task force discovered a large marijuana plantation east of Hinckley and it was soon learned that this plantation was part of a larger drug operation. A plan was formulated to monitor the plantation while developing an operation plan to raid and eradicate the plantation. The amount of coordination and planning required to safely conduct an operation of this nature cannot be understated and the planning taxed the Chief Deputy’s and my military and police experience. The plantation was raided on July 24th by over 100 police personnel and netted over 5,400 marijuana plants, with street value of over 4 million dollars.
In August, 5 new deputies joined the Sheriff’s Office bringing our on paper strength to the authorized level. We continued to work short handed as one of our deputies serves in Afghanistan and one is on medical leave.
During the third quarter the City of Pine City engaged the Sheriff’s Office in discussions regarding their perception of unequal police service being provided to their City. Our statistics show that between January 1st and September 30th Deputies responded to 6,276 calls for service in the whole southern district. 3,329 (over 50%) of these calls were within Pine City. Pine City accounts for about 33% of the South Districts population, but produced over 50% of police activity. To offset their demand for service the City contracts 10 hours of dedicated police patrol each day. This contract helps to control the drain on countywide police service, but in reality many calls require more than one Deputy and many more are outside the 10 hour window of obligation per contract, meaning non contract Deputies leave their assigned patrol areas from elsewhere in the south District or County to respond to Pine City 24 hours a day not 10. A portion of these calls are the statutory obligation of the Sheriff, but many more are not. Although it is a challenge to meet these demands, the public safety of all residents remains our top priority.
We have done everything possible to divide the resources of the Sheriff’s Office as evenly as possible throughout the county. The simple fact is that our staffing is not sufficient to meet demand. The Southern Sheriff’s District consists of Pine City (3329 calls), Rock Creek (511 calls), and the townships of Royalton (291calls), Pine City (444 calls), Pokegama (1107 calls) and Chengwatana (241 calls), with a combined population of about 10,000 residents.
In September the Sheriff’s Office acquired an armored vehicle on permanent loan from the Department of Defense. A total of six of these vehicles were provided to Minnesota Homeland Security and because of our active participation with their programs Pine County was awarded a vehicle. The vehicle was manufactured in 2008 costing 600,000.00 dollars, and came in like new condition with 9,000 miles. The Chief Deputy and I have spent several weekends configuring it to perform search and rescue operations.
Through the 3rd quarter (75%) of 2013, overall the Sheriff’s Office has expended less than 75% of our budget. We have spent the following percentage of each budget: Sheriff 69%, Corrections 73%, and Dispatch 72% or an average of 71%.
Listen for weekly updates, during the Pine County Sheriff’s Report, Thursday mornings at 0730 on WCMP radio.
Thank you for the support,
Sheriff Robin Cole”