The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is hoping a new program will help young people get positive interactions with local law enforcement.
Cass County Sheriff Devron Ohrn announced the community-oriented Sheriff’s Working with Adolescents Together program last year, or SWAT in an effort to build and maintain positive, close relationships with the youth of the county.
Ohrn says he hopes events planned with the group will help foster those relationships in the coming years. He says that adolescents who have positive interactions with police early in their life are more than likely to be compliant with officers later on in life, especially if they are a witness or a possible suspect in a case. Ohrn says he hopes the outreach will also create a positive view of the Sheriff’s Office in the community through more positive interactions rather than just through their normal, day-to-day duties.
Ohrn says they have a variety of ideas for events planned, but they are currently in a fundraising phase. Ohrn says he hopes to have events in each of the communities in Cass County with SWAT, and provide help to needy young people at each of the county’s schools. He hopes to have a fishing tournament or outing as well as a possible hiking event in the area with the group. He says he wants to do something away from young people using tablets and smartphones. Ohrn also says that SWAT wants to sponsor local sports teams and purchase equipment for children from families who are unable to afford it.
An April 16th t-shirt fundraiser saw 44 individuals and businesses give money to the program. Ohrn says it has been several years since the Sheriff’s Office has done any kind of community-oriented events like he has planned for the SWAT program.
Ohrn says that he’s seen adolescent crime evolve into more serious problems, especially with substance abuse. He says that young people have gotten away from the typical experimentation with alcohol and marijuana and have turned to harder drugs like methamphetamine. He hopes that interactions with the SWAT program will help turnaround some of this recurring behavior in the Cass County community.
For more information about the SWAT team and the program, visit the Cass County Sheriff’s Facebook Page.