Sheriff’s office mission team creates positive contacts
ST. CLOUD – A relatively new program in the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has been developed to encourage more positive interaction with the community.
The Community Service Engagement Team is made up of approximately 40 members, including dispatchers, prison staff and patrollers. The three School Resource Officers oversee the program, including the Assistant Brian Theisen. He says they have received a lot of good feedback from residents.
In the past, people have seen the sheriff’s office when it’s a bad situation or civil paperwork type stuff, or jail. That’s what people associated the sheriff’s office with. Now we are starting to get more involved.
Theisen says the feedback from team members has been very good as well.
This gives our dispatchers a chance to come out from behind the radio. The prison staff to come out, all they see is the people entering the prison, now they interact more with the community.
Theisen says the sheriff’s office already had programs like explorers and mounted reserves, but now they’ve added things like summer camps for young people.
They have a Lights On program where they hand out repair tickets when you have a headlight on your car instead of giving you a ticket. They put sensory bags in several squad cars. And, they are working to create a TRIAD group dedicated to educating seniors about fraud and scams.
Theisen says the team attends events such as parades, the county fair, the downtown arts tour and Summertime By George. He says that on June 7, they plan to hand out free donuts for National Donut Day.
Last summer they held their first youth safety camp in Warner Lake and this summer they want to expand it to three safety camps.