Established in 1853 and named for General Winfield Scott, Scott County, the fastest growing county in Minnesota, is considered by some to be the entertainment capitol of the state its attributes include 10 golf courses, 38 lakes, one river, and several parks and state wildlife management areas. The Mystic lake Gambling Casino, Canterbury Park, which is the state's only thoroughbred horse racing track, the Renaissance Festival, Valleyfair Amusement Park, and two NASCAR race tracks round out the attractions.
With an area of 375 square miles, the county, located southeast of the central park of Minnesota, is 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis, making it part of the seven-county metropolitan area. Though Scott County's population is 77,924, the racetrack, casino and the Renaissance Festival alone account for more than 5.3 million annual visitors.
The Scott County Sheriff's Office is led by 30-year law enforcement veteran, William Nevin, currently in his fourth term as sheriff. The sheriff is aided by a chief deputy and three captains who are in charge of each division.
The Communications Division encompasses Dispatch and Records; the Criminal Division includes Patrol, Crime Scene, Investigations, the Special Response Team, and Crime Prevention; and the Services Division is composed of Civil Process, Warrants, Transports, and Bailiffs, Civil Defense, the Reserves, Mounted Posse, and Recreation/Safety, which is responsible for enforcing boating and snowmobile laws throughout the county.
The final division within the sheriff's office is the Jail Division, which oversees the main jail-a maximum-security facility; a work release and minimum security unit; and a small alternative juvenile facility. The Scott County Jail is a civilian unit led by a civilian administrator.
Deputies have jurisdiction in the entire county and are often asked to assist the local city departments in backup situations. The Sheriff's Office also provides the Special Response Team to communities for situations that call for their deployment. Crime scene processing and investigative assistance are also utilized by other departments when needed. The sheriff's office furnishes 911 dispatching for the entire county. This alleviates the need for the other departments to finance, hire and maintain their own dispatch centers.
Members of the sheriff's office are assigned to teams that are designated to areas of concern within the county. Each team, which consists of a sergeant, a detective, and patrol deputies, is responsible for dealing with its area of concern in whichever way it chooses. Teams are also responsible for passing along information to members of other areas.
Recently, the sheriff's office sponsored a fishing derby that sent 50 kids fishing with cops. The hope is to have kids begin to view cops as friends instead of adversaries.
Training and Equipment
Scott County deputy sheriff hopefuls must possess a Minnesota peace officer license, which requires a two-or four-year degree in either law enforcement or criminal justice, complete a 12-week skills course and pass the licensing exam. Interested out-of-state police officers must successfully pass a written reciprocity test, an oral test and an interview with the sheriff's office, a complete physical and psychological exam and a thorough background investigation.
Scott County deputies are authorized to carry either a 9 mm, a .45-or .40-caliber handgun. The guns carried in the squad cars and also utilized by the SRT are 12-gauge shotguns, AR15 rifles, along with M14 and M16 rifles.
Scott County's vehicle fleet consists of 15 marked units, seven unmarked units, four jail units, seven boats, two personal watercrafts, and five snowmobiles. Each squad car is equipped with a Mobile Data Terminal, oxygen tank, first aid kit, and an automatic defibrillation unit for heart attacks. Every Scott County deputy must be a certified first responder, EMT, or paramedic.
The Sheriff's Office also has crime scene and laboratory processing equipment and is currently working on funding for an in-house automated fingerprint system. Although polygraph results are not admissible in Minnesota courts, they can be a useful investigative tool. The sheriff's office is fortunate to have a polygraph, which is operated by Chief Deputy David Einertson.
To alleviate jail crowding, the Scott County Sheriff's Office began an electronic offender-monitoring program in 1996. Basically, it is house arrest where remote alcohol testing is utilized to monitor offender compliance with no alcohol use orders. It also provides for electronic tracking of offender movements within the community to monitor offender compliance with no contact orders or other restrictions regarding their movement. Because of this, offenders who have been released into the community are effectively being kept away from victims. No-contact order violations are being detected and responded to within minutes.