by Tom Burch

Cass County Sheriff

As we work together through this pandemic, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office is committed to continuing to serve the residents and visitors of our county during these unprecedented times. Life as we know it — in almost every aspect — has changed.

While we have changed some practices and procedures to help keep staff and those we serve safe, and to follow mandates, we are still committed to delivering efficient and effective law enforcement services to our public and communities.  We would like to give you an update on doing business at the Cass County Courthouse and how the Sheriff’s Office currently functions.

At the courthouse in Walker, several things have changed. Since March 18 the Cass County Board of Commissioners has restricted access to county buildings, including the courthouse, with the exception of District Court Services. Non-essential visits to the courthouse are discouraged. Cass County has remained open to serving citizens through telephone, email, USPS mail and online services that available through our website. These efforts are consistent with our countywide Continuity of Operations Plan.

If you do visit the courthouse, access has been restricted to the west and east side doors. The main entrance off State Highway 200/371 is not open to the public. Signs direct you to the side entries. The east side (across from Dairy Queen) has visitor parking as well as handicapped accessible parking and access. Once you enter the east or west door, you will be greeted at a screening station that is operated and staffed by deputies from the sheriff’s office.

This screening station will screen visitors and staff going into the courthouse for court access. You will pass through the screening station prior to using the stairway or elevator to access the courthouse or other parts of the building. Most of the business (including voting) can be done in the screening station lobby. Our screening staff can assist you with dropping off paperwork or picking up paperwork or applications. If you need to meet with a specific office, we will call that office and a representative of that office will come to the screening station to meet with you. A mask is currently required in this public space.

Cass County offers several of its services through its website at www.co.cass.mn.us and utilizes individual department’s pages to direct you to forms or applications that you are looking for. In several instances, online payments can be accepted through the website. If you have questions about the website or services available, please call the office you are attempting to do business with before coming to the courthouse.

The sheriff’s office operates very similar and offers several of its services through our website at www.casssheriff.com. Forms and permits will give you access to printable and fillable pdf forms and a new online payment system is available for making civil, alarm and recreational permit payments. Per state statue, permit to carry applications must be submitted in person at the screening station in our lobby.

Visiting at our Detention Center is currently unavailable. Our Detention Center is processing fingerprint applications on Thursdays by appointment only. You can call (218) 547-7350 to get information about making an appointment for fingerprinting. The current fee is $20.

We are still responding to calls for service and patrolling our communities. Our interaction with you may change as we will be wearing a mask and attempting social dispatching when working on calls for service. Our equipment and vehicles are disinfected frequently following guidelines and PPE is provided to deputies for those that we have contact with that may not have PPE provisions available.

Non-emergency calls are prioritized and answered as resources are able. If your call for service does not require an in person visit from a deputy, we will talk with you over the phone to make a report or answer questions that you may have. We will also utilize email to send you forms that need to be completed in the event of a theft or property crime.

While the pandemic certainly changes the way we are forced to do business, we are fully committed to keeping our communities safe and are actively working at that every day. We are always thankful for our community support and working relationships and they are especially appreciated during times like these.  We are proud to have built this relationship with those we serve and are thankful for the cooperation that we have with you. If we can be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Stay safe!

If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, contact me anytime: e-mail tom.burch@co.cass.mn.us; call (218) 547-1424  or (800) 450-2677; or mail Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave W, P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN 56484

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