Retired sheriff opposes state’s plan to move sex offenders to Cambridge

Dear Editor:

I would like to express my strong opposition to the State of Minnesota sending sex offenders from St. Peter State Hospital and Moose Lake to the Minnesota Specialty Health System Campus in Cambridge.

While I was sheriff, the METO program at that location had a lot of problems due to poor screening of the people that were to be sent there, lack of security, staff unable to control clients and no plans of what to do with clients that damaged property, assaulted staff and those that simply walked away from the facility. These issues came up several times.

I want to know what will be different this time? This looks to me like the State of Minnesota is looking to dump these people in a less expensive program to save money without regard to the problems it will create in Cambridge. How will this be any different that what we had with METO? What are the plans to better screen these people, train staff to deal with their behavior problems when they occur, escape from the facility and what to do with them if they cannot control them.

They would call the sheriff’s office and Cambridge police to handle these situations and bring these clients to the Isanti County Jail. I could not allow them to be placed in our jail because they were already court ordered to METO.  The staff and those that placed them in this program didn’t know what to do with these people. I want to know what plans they have that are different from what they had in the past.

I see nothing but problems coming out of this for the City of Cambridge and its residents. Please make your voice heard in opposition to this.

Russ Monson