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Dodge County Sheriff's Office Accomplishments

2015-Present

There’s no “I” in TEAM! You’ll rarely ever hear Scott use the terms I, me, or my – he always uses “we,” ”us,” or “our” when referring to achievements or accomplishments at the Sheriff’s Office. When asked about the successes and achievements of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office over the years, he’ll always credit the great men and women who serve the Office all working together as a team, explaining they have an amazing staff that make his job easy. This is the type of leadership he’s always promoted and believed in.

The list of successes and accomplishments of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office under his leadership is extensive and covers improvements in every department:

  • REINSTATED CHIEF DEPUTY MIKE LEONHARDT
  • THIRD INVESTIGATOR POSITION CREATED
  • MAYO PRE-ARRIVAL CARE PROGRAM ADDED TO BETTER ASSIST CRITICAL CARE
  • ACTIVE 911 ADDED TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE
  • NEW COURTHOUSE WEAPONS SCREENING PROGRAM
  • X-RAY BAG SCREENING ADDED TO COURTHOUSE SECURITY
  • ENHANCED BUILDING SECURITY – IMPROVING SAFETY FOR STAFF AND PUBLIC
  • COURT SECURITY SERGEANT POSITION ESTABLISHED
  • NEW IMPROVED IN-CUSTODY PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
  • 911 DISPATCH CENTER – UPDATED AND EXPANDED TO BETTER SERVE PUBLIC
  • INCREASED CAMERA SURVEILLANCE TO IMPROVE COURTHOUSE SECURITY
  • IMPROVED EVIDENCE PROCESSING/STORAGE AREA
  • NEW CONFERENCE ROOM/TRAINING ROOM – STAFF DEVELOPMENT
  • NEW HOLDING FACILITIES / NEW SALLY PORT - IMPROVED SAFETY FOR TRANSPORT STAFF
  • NEW SECURED TRANSPORT ELEVATOR – IMPROVING SAFETY OF COURTHOUSE
  • DODGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S CHAPLAIN PROGRAM – FIRST OF ITS KIND IN DODGE COUNTY
  • TRAINING – INCREASED TRAINING FOR OFFICE AND OTHER COUNTY STAFF
  • NCMEC CERTIFICATION – SECOND AGENCY IN THE STATE TO EARN THIS CERTIFICATION
  • GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY – TOYS FOR TOTS AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS

REINSTATED CHIEF DEPUTY MIKE LEONHARDT

When Chief Deputy Mike Leonhardt was fired in 2014, Scott insisted that the firing was inappropriate and without merit. (Leonhardt was fired by the previous Sheriff for alleged “Loyalty” concerns.) Scott’s first action following his being sworn in on January 6th was to announce his intent to reinstate Leonhardt. On January 13th, Mike Leonhardt was once again sworn in as the Office’s Chief Deputy. Leonhardt’s swearing in ceremony at the courthouse was welcomed with a board room full of supporters and a standing ovation. Leonhardt joined Sheriff Rose and Captain Ryer Anderson in 2015 to complete their upper management team - and has proven to be an invaluable asset to the team with his knowledge, experience, and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office and to the citizens of Dodge County.


THIRD INVESTIGATOR POSITION CREATED

During the campaign in 2014, Scott was serving as an Investigator with the Sheriff’s Office and insisted that the Sheriff’s Office needed to add a third Investigator to help manage their ever increasing caseload. After he was elected, the Sheriff’s Office promoted two deputies internally to Investigations; one to replace Sheriff Rose, and the other to fill the long overdue third position he campaigned for. In 2015 Scott said, “Investigations is one department within our Office where we’ve always needed more help, especially in the last few years. The last four years, serving with Investigator Brumfield, we did everything we could to keep up with cases. Having three investigators will now allow that department to be more proactive, to better manage our current caseload, and to be ready for the expected future growth within the county.”

Today, with three Investigators, they are able to better manage cases, provide more complete follow up and preparation for trial, and be more effective keeping up with their caseload as Dodge County continues to grow.


MAYO PRE-ARRIVAL CARE DISPATCH PROGRAM ADDED TO BETTER ASSIST CRITICAL CARE

One of the first major changes in dispatch included the implementation of Mayo’s Pre-Arrival Care dispatch program. Scott explained that the Office’s new administration had been looking at each department within the Office to identify areas that needed improvement. “One area we felt we could improve on was how medical calls were handled in dispatch. Without having EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) training and certification, our dispatcher’s weren’t able to provide medical care instructions over the phone during the most critical incidents. We are very excited about now being able to offer these services and believe this program will most certainly save lives.”


ACTIVE 911 ADDED TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Another improvement implemented in the Dispatcher Center was the addition of a software program and cell phone app to assist with EMS dispatching. Scott’s administration had been reviewing different software options that would allow dispatch to send call information directly to Fire and Ambulance member’s laptops and cell phones with call information and mapping. These programs are designed to help improve communications with EMS and provide the quickest and most accurate information possible about the calls they are being paged to respond to. They decided to go with a system called Active 911, which integrates with the dispatch computer system and automatically sends out emergency call information to first responders via both their computers and cell phones – relaying important call information, patient status, and mapping instructions to direct responders to the incident. This system gets important information quicker to responding agencies to help facilitate a more prompt and prepared response.


COURTHOUSE WEAPONS SCREENING PROGRAM STARTED IN MARCH OF 2016

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office implemented the regions first expanded weapons screening program in the courthouse in March of 2016.

  • Visitors to the Public Safety Area, who previously weren’t screened at all before entering the building, are now required to go thru weapons screening, walk thru a metal detector, and submit to searches of all coats and bags.
  • With this new program, public access to the building is limited to only one door requiring all to pass thru screening.
  • In the first 6 months the Sheriff’s Office screened approximately 14,000 visitors.
  • Many potential weapons were turned away or confiscated including over 75 knives, pepper spray cans, tasers, and one handgun.
  • A number of visitors were also charged with possession of narcotics and/or drug paraphernalia
  • The Public Safety Area includes the offices of the Sheriff, County Attorney, Probation, Public Defender, Drug Court, Victim Services, and Courts.

X-RAY MACHINE ADDED IN 2017

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office added a 3D X-ray Machine to screen bags, coats, and packages. This technology is the first of its kind in Southeast Minnesota - not only does it screen for weapons, but it will also identify narcotics and explosives in visitor belongings. This was paid for by police state aid funding along with two local donations – no tax dollars were used for this project. This addition has already successfully prevented potential weapons and drugs from entering the Public Safety Area. The goal of Scott’s team is to do everything they can to ensure the Dodge County Courthouse continues to be a safe environment for county staff and visitors alike.


ENHANCED BUILDING SECURITY - IMPROVING SAFETY FOR STAFF AND PUBLIC

The Sheriff’s Office implemented many new policies and procedures related to building security within both the courthouse and the Government Services Building.


NEW SERGEANT POSITION TO MANAGE SCREENING/COURT & BUILDING SECURITY

To help maintain the increased level of safety and security in the courthouse, the Sheriff’s Office established a new Sergeants position to run, support, and supervise the enhanced building security and weapons screening area. This position required new training specific to the unique challenges of courthouse and building security.

  • Manages both weapons screening and court security
  • Supervises Court Security and Transport Staff
  • Manages scheduling, transports, court security
  • Responds to all emergencies during business hours within the Courthouse or GSB
  • Assists with safety training for courthouse and county staff
  • Assists with assessing building security and researching improvements

IN-CUSTODY PROCEDURES CHANGED TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND SECURITY

The Sheriff’s Office developed new in-custody procedures during the process of transporting, booking, and court appearances for in-custody persons.

  • New holding rooms were added in the Sheriff’s Office and in the Courthouse to improve safety and security for transport staff, county staff, and the public
  • Transport vehicle equipment was updated and improved for safety – additional confinement equipment and camera surveillance were added to transport vehicles to ensure the safety of detainees and staff
  • Increase in security and safety training for all staff

NEW 911 DISPATCH CENTER – EXPANDED AND UPDATED TO BETTER SERVE PUBLIC

Under Scott’s leadership, their administrative staff negotiated a much needed update of the emergency radio system in Dispatch. Scott’s Administration then worked with the architects and commissioners to design, plan and facilitate a complete upgrade, move and expansion of the 911 Dispatch Center during the court house remodeling project – helping with a number of changes and improvements to the existing building plan. Scott explained the changes were needed to more effectively utilize the area being remodeled for the Sheriff’s Office, arguing the new dispatch location would also allow for much better workflow and efficiency within the Office.

  • Expanded to a much larger workspace within the secured area of the courthouse - over twice the size of the original area to accommodate up to 3 dispatchers on duty
  • Installed new Next Generation 911 Phone System capable of accepting Text to 911 phone calls
    • New phone system is primarily software driven which makes it much more cost effective to maintain and upgrade
    • System provides better mapping to more accurately identify location of the caller – speeding up emergency response time
  • Implemented new Active911 system for area public safety responders
    • System sends incident information to all public safety responders smart phones along with directions to incident
    • Allows responders to indicate whether they are responding or not available
    • Mapping shows where responders are located and responding from
    • Help provide better staffed response to emergencies
    • Cost of system shared with area public safety
  • Implemented new Weather Monitoring Equipment
    • New weather monitoring equipment and communications options in dispatch to monitor and warn public of major weather events
    • Storm tracking and monitoring system so Emergency Management can report and warn of major weather events
    • Paid for by state grant
    • This equipment was used successfully to warn fairgoers in 2016 of a strong storm that wasn’t caught by the National Weather Service system in LaCrosse

INCREASED CAMERA SURVEILLANCE TO IMPROVE COURTHOUSE SECURITY

Increased the number of cameras to better monitor activity in three county complexes including the Courthouse, Government Services Building, and Highway Department.

  • Increased to over 60 cameras
  • Better monitoring of system in Dispatch and weapons screening area
  • Redundant monitoring to help quickly identify issues or concerns
  • Camera system helps provide a much safer environment for staff and visitors – in the parking lots, in their buildings, and in their courtroom

NEW EVIDENCE PROCESSING / EVIDENCE STORAGE AREA

Scott’s team worked together to help develop and implement a new evidence processing room and evidence storage area to more efficiently and effectively log and track case evidence.

  • New secured evidence processing room for safer processing of evidence and narcotics
  • Doubled the storage space and installed rack system to keep evidence better organized
  • Both areas are now under camera surveillance and restricted by card access to help ensure proper evidence procedures and chain of custody

NEW CONFERENCE/ TRAINING ROOM - STAFF DEVELOPMENT

With the 911 Dispatch Center move, the Sheriff’s Office remodeled their entry, lobby and dispatch area creating a large conference/training room for the Sheriff’s Office. This room was completely furnished by repurposing materials that other county departments were replacing; chairs, tables, ITV system, white board, etc.

  • Installed full interactive TV system (existing system that was located in another building) for Emergency
  • Management and remote training
  • Room is used for weekly briefings and staff meetings, interviews, break area, committee meetings
  • Room is used for staff training
  • Room is set up to be used for any major incident/event planning
  • Room serves as a secured backup for evidence storage and viewing for Investigations

NEW HOLDING FACILITIES / NEW SALLY PORT - IMPROVED SAFETY FOR TRANSPORT STAFF

The Sheriff’s Office reorganized and updated the garage area, adding a much needed secured holding area for transports and new arrests. Also developed new in-custody procedures during the process of transporting, booking, and court appearances for in-custody persons.

  • Secured holding area added in Sally Port
  • Transport/booking/holding areas secured by card access and monitored by surveillance
  • Prevents persons in-custody from having access to public or staff
  • Makes transport and booking process much safer for their staff, for the public, and for those in-custody

SECURED ELEVATOR / HOLDING AREA - IMPROVING SAFETY OF COURTHOUSE

The Courthouse remodel included adding a new secured elevator and holding area in the courthouse for prisoners and detainees. This area allows Scott’s staff to transport and hold detainees in a much safer manner in areas that are secured by card access and monitored by surveillance. These areas also allow movement of detainees throughout the courthouse without any public contact or access, helping to improve overall safety.


DODGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S CHAPLAIN PROGRAM – ESTABLISHED IN 2018

With every call, every day, law enforcement officers are faced with potentially dangerous life threatening situations. The officer may have to make split-second decisions that are just and right – but often times very difficult. Many times after these events take place, the officer has a need to express his or her frustrations and problems to someone who fully understands the circumstances of the law enforcement world. An officer may need to discuss his/her problems with someone who understands what (s)he is up against, yet is detached enough not to be emotionally involved or in a position that might affect the officer’s career.

For law enforcement officers, trusting someone enough to confide in them about issues at work is probably one of the toughest things for them to do – they are supposed to be strong, non-emotional, and bullet proof. They are supposed to be “robot like” when dealing with people in crisis. No one career, in Scott’s opinion, is confronted with more situations that can demoralize and create extreme emotional and mental burdens than law enforcement.

After looking at and dealing with a handful of devastating incidents over the past couple of years, and seeing that they really were lacking with this type of internal support system for their staff, the agencies that serve with them, and the victims they are there to help - Scott started researching the idea of starting a Sheriff’s Chaplain Program in Dodge County.

Today, more than ever, our local law enforcement agencies need a resource for guidance, counseling and assistance to their officers, their families, and their communities. Also, the burden these officers take on can tremendously affect the officer’s family too – often the forgotten victims. The officer’s own clergy person or religious advisor, although trained in the ministry, likely doesn’t have a good understanding of the particular problems law enforcement officers face. In such cases, this is where a chaplain could listen with empathy, advise calmly, and offer assistance when such assistance is appropriate. The chaplains are not there to proselytize (unless asked for religious advice or guidance), just to be an understanding ear and provide support and guidance with an open heart and mind.

The need for this type of support also holds true for the dozens of fireman, first responders, and medical emergency staff that responds and serves alongside our officers every day.

Through the last several months of 2017, Scott met with a number of area ministers who were interested in being involved in a local chaplain program. Scott brought in a handful of speakers and looked at model programs from other city and county agencies.

Scott then assigned Sergeant Shannon Boerner to help serve as the Chaplain Program’s first coordinator. Together they developed Dodge County’s first Sheriff’s Chaplain Program to help assist in the following areas:

  • Participate in a ride-along program with patrol officers
  • Respond to all major disasters such as fires, collapse of buildings, explosions, mass casualty events, unusual industrial accidents, and similar situations
  • Assists officer with making death notifications
  • Assist with suicide incidents
  • Provide assistance to victims
  • Serve as a member of the Crisis Response Team
  • Visit sick and injured officers and departmental personnel at home or at the hospital
  • Provide answers for religious questions (does not proselytize)
  • Offers prayers at special occasions such as recruit graduations, award ceremonies, etc.
  • Counsel members of the law enforcement community, sworn and non-sworn, as well as their families

In January of 2018, after coompleting an extensive background process, nine area ministers started serving as Dodge County's first Sheriff's Chaplains.


INCREASED TRAINING IN ALL DEPARTMENTS

When asked about the need for training, Scott will tell you ongoing training is an absolute necessity. “Our community expects the best from our staff. We can only expect our deputies, dispatchers, and other staff to perform at the level of which they've been trained. That being said, the importance of employee training doesn't end with our staff. Supervisor training and development is equally important to workplace safety, productivity, and satisfaction. Among the most useful skills that can be addressed are supervisor communication, employee motivation, and employee recognition.”

Law Enforcement is an ever changing field, with unique challenges within every department. Increased scrutiny of policing practices, case law, changes in technology, and the constantly evolving area of data practices are just a few of drivers for increased training needs. The Sheriff’s Office has focused on training in all departments.

  • Additional training for staff in Records Department.
  • Additional training for staff in Dispatch
  • Additional training for Patrol and Investigations
  • Additional training for weapons screening and building/court security staff
  • Additional training for management and administration

According to Scott, ensuring their staff is up-to-date on the latest training for their respective departments is the only way to ensure they provide the quality of service the citizens of Dodge County have come to expect and deserve.


PROVIDED ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING FOR ALL COUNTY DEPARTMENTS

Our Building Security Sergeant and Emergency Management Director put together an Active Shooter Training Program and individually trained all county staff within their respective offices. This is in advance of a full Active Shooter Training Exercise planned for this winter. This training was also made available to some of the school districts as well.


NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN - CERTIFICATION IN MARCH OF 2017

From the moment the report of a missing child comes in to the resolution of the case, every action taken has the potential to make the difference between a successful recovery and a tragic outcome.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) developed the Missing Kids Readiness Project to promote best practices for responding to calls of missing, abducted and sexually exploited children. 911 call centers and law enforcement agencies are recognized for meeting essential training and policy elements demonstrating preparedness for responding to a missing child incident.

To meet the requirements of the Project, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office worked with NCMEC on their missing child policy to ensure it met the critical elements of NCMEC’s model policy for law enforcement agencies. In addition, Sheriff Scott Rose and Dispatch Supervisor Mike Burton attended the Missing Children Seminar for Chief Executives held at NCMEC headquarters in Alexandria, VA - and ensured all staff including telecommunicators, front line supervisors, and deputies completed the necessary classroom and/or online training offered through NCMEC. By demonstrating remarkable leadership and making this commitment of training and preparedness, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is communicating to its citizens and families that protecting the lives and safety of their children is a top priority.

Armed with the information, knowledge and operational resources gained through meeting the project criteria, the Sheriff’s Office is now positioned to respond more quickly, comprehensively, and effectively when a child’s life may be at stake.

As of March of 2017, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was one of just thirty-eight law enforcement agencies in the United States who had achieved this status as a certified Missing Kids Readiness Project Agency, and just the second within the state of Minnesota. The Dodge County 911 Dispatch Center is one of just two hundred sixty five 911 Dispatch Centers in the United States who have achieved this status, and just the fourth 911 Dispatch Center within the state of Minnesota.


GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY

TOYS FOR TOTS

Each year Scott and members from every department in the Sheriff’s Office help volunteer with the SE MN Toys for Tots program. They start with the Loring Guenther Memorial Golf Tournament in October to help raise funds, and then after Thanksgiving they help collect, sort, and ship toys each week to less fortunate kids in Dodge County and in SE Minnesota – over 7400 kids in 2017.

POLAR PLUNGE FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS

Each year in February, Scott helps raise several thousand dollars for Special Olympics during the Annual Polar Plunge in Rochester. You’ll see Scott’s signature “cannon ball” as he plunges alongside Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson to kick off the event each year.