Brown County commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the purchase and installation of a wireless personnel security system for the Probation Department building.
The county was seeing a rise in issues with probation violations and the individuals who violated their probation coming into the building and displaying dangerous behavior, especially when addressing violations or other issues.
This is a system that other counties in Minnesota could implement as their budgets allow. Brown County received a $3,000 budget for the security system purchase. This is a trend that can be expected to spread throughout Minnesota as more probation departments experience problems from violators coming into the offices in hopes to explain themselves.
However, the issues haven’t just been with probation violators who find that they cannot stop legal action against them when they come into the office. There are some simply checking in who have displayed erratic behavior.
In Brown County alone, 116 calls were made to law enforcement regarding unruly and dangerous individuals and Brown County does not deal with as many individuals on probation as some of the larger counties, such as Hennepin County.
One call was made regarding a woman who tried to injure herself with a sharp object. There have also been calls regarding people bringing loaded handguns into the office or bringing in large knives.
When this occurs, felony level offenders are violating their pre-trial release conditions and this is causing them to face possible prison sentences. Probation officers deal with individuals every day who are angry, suffer from mental health issues, and who are being treated by mood altering chemicals.
Many of these individuals who are visiting their probation officers with weapons in hand are not allowed to carry weapons as part of the conditions of their probation. They are to not possess weapons or commit any other crimes and bringing weapons into the building like that is considered a crime and the charges are enhanced if some kind of threat is made. This is resulting in probation violators in Minnesota going back to jail.