BACKUS-Calls to the Cass County Sheriff's Office were down in 2020, Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said, mainly due to COVID-19 and stay at home orders.

Burch, who presented the 2020 annual report to the county board Tuesday, March 16, said there were a total of 19,492 initial complaint reports filed in 2020, which was down 2,957 reports than the previous year. The reason, he said, was due to people staying at home because of COVID-19.

Burch also said approximately 97% of all 911 calls are now being received from cellphones, with Saturday being one of the busiest days for 911 calls and Mondays having the least number of calls.

There was a significant increase in the processing of gun permits in 2020, with the department processing 1,495 permit-to-carry applications, compared to 953 applications processed in 2019. Another statistic that increased in 2020 was the amount of traffic crashes with injuries. There were 71 crash reports with injuries compared to 51 in 2019. Burch said that seemed to be consistent with what the Minnesota State patrol is reporting along with increased speeds on highways.

Because of the partial shutdowns in 2020, the state saw more people getting out and enjoying the recreational opportunities, Burch said. There was a statewide increase of boat registrations by 5,433 from 2019 to a total of 820,051 boats registered. Statewide ATV registrations increased by 14,214 registrations from 2019 to a total of 323,956 ATV's registered. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources data also shows that Cass County ATV registrations were 4,644 and there was a total of 6,747 ATV registrations indicating Cass County as "County Most Used"

These numbers were consistent with what was being seen within the county and Burch stated there has been an increase of complaints on both the water and trails. Also, a variety of new issues have been created with the increase of ATV usage including need for additional education and enforcement.

Burch stated most of the county's volunteer programs, outreach and partnerships were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and the sheriff's department is looking forward to getting these programs started again in 2021.

For a complete list of calls and to learn more about the sheriff's programs, see the full sheriff's report at www.co.cass.mn.us.