Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office gets second investigator
The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department will soon engage the abilities of a second investigator to tackle the growing number of incidents in the area. In setting the 2016 levy, commissioners approved hiring a second detective, which at one point in recent budget talks had appeared unlikely. “I’m very proud the board has made this commitment,” Sheriff Cory Aukes said last week, noting township boards have shown strong support for this. Discussion on the matter began more than a year ago, Aukes informing commissioners “vast numbers of burglaries and thefts were going unsolved” in the county. The position has been posted internally, Aukes said, with the new investigator likely to be on board in early January. If a current patrol officer is hired, he or she will be replaced.
“The same number of deputies will serve the county,” he said. “We will hire an experienced officer.” The investigator will undergo training in interviewing techniques, specifically with sexually abused children, and death investigations, with tutelage from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The officer will train while working. Calls for service have risen annually in the past 10 years, from 5,820 in 2005 to 9,285 in 2014, with a single investigator. The sheriff’s department will end 2015 with approximately 13,000 incidents for the year, Aukes said this week. “This is a 650 percent increase from when I started in law enforcement in 1990, when we had one investigator. That’s a huge increase in caseloads.” Current investigator Chad Olson handles a “very large caseload from Social Services,” Aukes explained of child neglect and abuse cases – “that’s the bulk of his time” – as well as vulnerable adult issues and welfare fraud. The new investigator will share the existing Social Services duties “with room for both to investigate property crimes.”
Beltrami County’s investigator handles 200 caseloads, he said. “Chad is pushing 400.” A full-time officer deals with drug issues in the county, “methamphetamine and prescription pills the main issues.” Heroin is “coming back, but we’re not seeing it in Hubbard County. Marijuana is always here,” he said. Burglary numbers tend to go up and down, Aukes said, the economy a factor. When gas edged up to $4 a gallon, “there were tons of thefts.” Also, a single person or small group can be perpetrators of multiple break-ins, and once apprehended, burglary numbers drop. Aukes spoke directly to township boards on the issue, explaining with another investigator “victims of crimes are better served. Follow-up has a direct correlation to the service we provide citizens.” But patrol deputies are so busy taking calls - ranging from barking dogs to domestics, accidents, thefts - this, in many instances, precludes follow-ups. “An investigator proceeds where the officer left off,” he said, including leaving the county to go, for example, to a pawn shop in Fargo. “A patrol deputy can’t up and leave.”
The investigators, deputies and Aukes are available to members of the public. “Tips are welcome; we wish we had more.” To contact the sheriff’s office, visit the county website at co.hubbard.mn.us or email email@example.com. mn.us.