WALKER -- Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher credits Leech Lake Public Safety Department's successful law enforcement on the reservation with diminishing the number of calls for service the sheriff's department recorded, especially the last two years.
The county and Leech Lake Reservation initiated a law enforcement agreement in October 2000, enabling sheriff's deputies, police officers in cities within the county and Leech Lake police officers to work together enforcing laws within the county and reservation.
Many calls Leech Lake officers take for minor offenses tribal members commit, which then go to tribal court, no longer are recorded on the sheriff's calls for service records. More serious crime arrests Leech Lake officers make, which still go through county court, are still reflected in the sheriff's records.
The sheriff's department received 15,559 calls for service in 1993, a number continuing to rise through the 16,532 recorded in 1998. Leech Lake developed its public safety department in 1999 and 2000.
County records of calls for service dropped back to 14,342 in 1999, 14,545 in 2000, 14,293 in 2001 and 13,538 in 2002.
Part of the change in 2001 and 2002 reflects the fact the county records only ticketed and charged offenses, not just warnings for boat and water safety stops now, Fisher said.
The most significant change to county records, however, the Leech Lake officers have made, he said.
Calls for service the county recorded have continued a steady rise in many cities and townships off the reservation, according to Fisher's 10-year report.
In the largest city on the reservation, Cass Lake, county calls for service dropped from a 10-year 1998 peak of 1,821 to 1,518 in 2002. In adjacent Pike Bay Township, county calls for service dropped from a 10-year peak in 1999 of 2,707 to 1,557 in 2002.
Fisher said the cooperative agreement has worked well.
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