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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Lake Region Law Enforcement Center Board meets with counties

  • The Lake Region Law Enforcement Center (LEC) met Wednesday morning to help county commissioners better understand what needs to be done to house local juveniles at the LEC and to hash out concerns regarding the LEC’s administration.
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  • The Lake Region Law Enforcement Center (LEC) met Wednesday morning to help county commissioners better understand what needs to be done to house local juveniles at the LEC and to hash out concerns regarding the LEC’s administration.
    The LEC may send up to four employees for further training outside the Lake Region, so they can become qualified to  assist in the supervision of short term, non-adjudicated juveniles. Non-adjudicated means low-risk, juveniles that are held at the LEC for less than 96 hours at a time. Currently, juveniles  are being transported to Grand Forks for detainment.
    “You just can’t look at it as a money making or a numbers game,” said Rhonda Allery, Ramsey County social services director. “It’s a necessary service like a fire department or an ambulance. If you don’t have it when you need it, you’re in tough shape.”
    According to Denny Deegan, LEC operations director, four employees will be sent for more training in January. She said the training takes place in Bismarck, but only a certain number of applicants state-wide are accepted during specific dates throughout the year.
    As for the next six months, the LEC will continue to seek help to transport juveniles detainees to and from Grand Forks. So far, the Ramsey County and Benson County Sheriff’s Departments are teaming up to meet the need.
    “We have  a responsibility in this community, to meet the needs of our youth,” said Chuck Sanderson, a former LEC employee of five years.
    “Many of the kids that come through this system, have gone through things that probably none of us in this room can really quite understand.”   “They’ve been survivors,” said Sanderson, who worked as a life skills coordinator and in mental health to co-facilitate the addiction group at the LEC.
    “Kids need to have access to their parents, regardless of who they are and what they’ve done,” stressed Sanderson. “Believe it or not, some of these youth will become taxpayers.”
    “The other reality is, these kids are valuable – because these are the kids that eventually will take some of the jobs that nobody else will take.”
    “The current administration, that’s where the frustration exists.” said Benson County commissioner, Michael Steffan. “The message that I’m delivering is to ask for the resignations of Denny Deegan and Peggy Hoel.”
    “That’s a horse s**t [expletive deleted] motion,” said Craig Stromme.
    The motion was not carried, as the majority of the LEC board members declined the motion. But Steffan and Ramsey County Commission president Mark Olson stayed in favor of the resignation recommendation.“Nobody’s listening,” said a frustrated Olson. “Maybe this will get some attention.”
    Page 2 of 2 - In a calm but firm manner, Steffan declared “The frustration level has reached its max.”
    “Things change over time. Nothing is static,” said Benson County States Attorney, James Wang. “From what I’m hearing this morning you’re still short staffed in this place.”
    “There’s just sort of a window here folks- board- that this needs to come together on. Being told in May that it will be two weeks and I’m sitting here now and it will be six more months, gee, that’s a hard pill to convince the jury that things are getting done.”
    The LEC will meet again on Wednesday, July 16 at 8 a.m. Community members are encouraged to attend.

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