Crime does not stop for a pandemic, and neither do we. It is business as usual at the Becker County Sheriff’s Office.
Patrolling Becker County has continued in full strength throughout this pandemic. Traffic may have been at a minimum this spring, but our dispatch center remained busy, with calls for services steadily coming in to include paging of fire departments, rescue squads and other emergency services.
By late spring, the traffic became more prevalent and several recreational outdoor activities resumed. Deputies were busy patrolling Becker County roads and highways, along with ATV trails and area lakes.
Social distancing is challenging and nearly impossible when sharing office space, but our office did not shut down. Instead, we implemented safety measures. We installed glass barriers, and additional hand sanitizer dispensers and disinfecting wipes, facial coverings and other personal protective items have been supplied to our staff. Deputies have completed more of their paperwork in their patrol cars.
Although we closed our lobby for a brief time, our dispatch center remained open and our office also continued to accept firearms permits and other correspondence by appointment. Our lobby is currently open to the public.
Those staff who normally attended training and conferences in person, now attend via Zoom, Teams Meeting or other form of teleconference. Unfortunately, when training or meeting by teleconference, you tend to lose the networking aspect, discussions, and other hands-on activities.
For the protection of our staff and inmates, the Becker County Jail also implemented safety measures. Several additional hand sanitizer dispensers were installed. Staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms when arriving for their shift, and they wear masks.
We remain concerned about COVID-19 entering the jail; therefore, we are not conducting the work release program other than inmates working at the county’s transfer station. Visitation with inmates is held via video and will continue that way.
We have booked over 700 inmates into the jail since March, but we will continue to limit our contact with the public to maintain safety. Any individual booked into jail is screened for symptoms and is segregated for 14 days before entering the general population. As a result of these measures, we are happy to announce that we are not aware of any cases in the jail.
The Sentence to Serve Program also remained busy with projects, maintaining lake accesses and county parks. Our bailiffs and security screeners have remained busy with court related activities, along with assisting with courthouse safety implementations.
We are very fortunate to have several entities to team up with in our profession. We work closely with our law enforcement partners, including area police departments and the state patrol, DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, along with our local fire departments, EMS and rescue squads.
The Becker County Sheriff’s Office is not going anywhere. I am proud of my staff for their dedication to serving Becker County through this pandemic. It has been done without complaints or hesitation. They are an incredible group of professionals!
We will continue to follow our mission statement, “We, the men and women of the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, are empowered to defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota. We are dedicated to the protection of all we serve. We provide exceptional law enforcement services free from prejudice or favor, with quality leadership, integrity, and respect.”
I invite you to like our Becker County Sheriffs Office Facebook page and/or visit our website at www.co.becker.mn.us/dept/sheriff/.