Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry presented the 2018 annual report to the Hugo City Council May 20. Here are some of the highlights:
• The sheriff’s department currently has 264 staff and 100-plus volunteers and part-time employees. Eight deputies currently cover the city of Hugo. Starry mentioned the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is working with the city on the possibility of adding a ninth deputy to cover Hugo.
• For 2019, Hugo has a contract with the WCSO for six patrol officers, one sergeant and one detective for $1,105,560, which equates to $74.56 per capita.
• Thefts account for the most common type of Part I crimes (arson, assault, auto theft, burglary, theft, murder, robbery, rape) in Hugo. Starry mentioned many of the incidents are thefts of tools and materials from new home construction. In 2018, there were 144 thefts compared to 119 in 2017. There were 222 Part I crimes in 2018 compared to 168 in 2017.
• In 2018, 488 Part II crimes (DWI, disorderly conduct, family/children, forgery, fraud, liquor laws, narcotics, assaults, sex offenses, vandalism, weapons) occurred, compared to 489 in 2017. Starry described Part II crimes as “quality-of-life crimes.” The most common Part II crime in 2018 was disorderly conduct; there were 133 such incidents in 2018 compared to 156 in 2017.
• The city saw a reduction in the number of accidents within its borders in 2018: 160, compared to 170 in 2017. Starry explained that most of motor vehicle accidents in Hugo can be attributed to animal-related crashes.
• Most calls to WCSO come between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight.
• Deputies responded to 7,161 incidents and conducted around 1,800 traffic stops in 2018.
• “Unfortunately, we are seeing the devastating effects of opiate abuse across the nation and here within Washington County. We have also seen fentanyl and carfentanil in Washington County,” Starry explained. “Due to this epidemic, we have changed our practices out on the streets to protect our employees — we no longer test powders on the street. It must be done in a controlled environment with multiple people and a supply of naloxone (Narcan).”
The WCSO partners with Lakeview Hospital and HealthPartners to put naloxone into the hands of deputies to save lives. WCSO also has a deputy at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) working at the heart of the epidemic to make sure drug trafficking organizations are held accountable.
• The “Take it to the Box” medication disposal initiative in Washington County has been very successful, Starry said; just last year the service expanded to residents of Hugo. WCSO now has five locations (including Hugo City Hall) where residents may drop off unused, expired or unwanted medications.
• The Community Engagement Unit is a new unit within the WCSO created to make sure the department is getting out into the community and having positive contacts with citizens. In Hugo, WCSO has attended Night to Unite, Friday with Firefighters, Concerts in the Park, Good Neighbor Days and Hugo Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network events.