The numbers may be down, however, staff at the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department aren’t slowing down.
County authorities have 750 square miles to cover and each deputy drives an average 40,000 miles a year.
In 2019, Sheriff Mike Gormley, Chief Deputy Scott Adams and 10-full-time deputies responded to 8,539 calls.
That was slightly less than 2018’s total and about 1,100 fewer calls than the 9,600 tallied in 2017.
“We’ve been seeing an increase every year up to 2017,” says Adams. “We were busier last year, but it was a different type of being busy. We’re running our deputies ragged.”
Adams points out that more time is being spent on mental health and violent offender cases.
“When I first started in 1994, we probably had a couple mental health calls a year,” says Adams. “Last year, we had 89 and they generally take five to seven hours each.”
Four full-time dispatchers and part-timers handled nearly 21,000 calls last year, while jailers had slightly more than 700 inmate bookings.
Adams says dispatchers handled 410 fire calls and nearly 1,900 ambulance/first responder calls. He says there also were 578 wireless 911 hang-up calls and 48 911 hang-up calls that deputies had to check out.
Housing inmates has proven to be quite profitable and generated extra income for the Sheriff’s Department coffers.
Adams says other counties paid $150,685 to keep their prisoners at the jail. In addition, the department made $25,000 from pop and candy sales and $18,000 from phone cards.
“We buy items for the jail and deputies from the money,” he says. “A lot of our office computers has come out of that money.”
Of the 121 vehicle accidents last year, four resulted in fatalities. That’s well below the double-digit number recorded in 2015.
“That year we had an average of one-and-half fatalities a month. I don’t ever want to see that again,” says Adams. “A good share of them was for lack of seat belt use.”
Contrary to popular belief, Adams says that deputies aren’t stalking bars at closing time to write DWI citations.
He says “public education” is a huge reason for why there were 28 driving under the influence tickets issued last year.