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County to get custom computer

Will speed up investigations

December 12, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Brown County commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday purchasing a $3,379, custom-designed computer from General NanoSystems Inc. of Minneapolis for computer crimes investigations.

Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann said the computer can be used to investigate issues like child pornography, a crime he said is increasing.

The sheriff's department and New Ulm Police each have one specially trained officer to operate the computer.

"The (Minnesota) BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) is way backed up on these cases now," Hoffmann said. "We have to get information back fast or we don't get charges."

Chief Deputy Jason Seidl said the new, "beefed-up" computer will enable the county to speed up investigations.

"Our last case like this happened last February and we just got results," Seidl added.

Commissioners also approved:

Purchasing a $7,820 plus tax courthouse security system with two outdoor cameras for the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) entrance for parking lot and main entrance surveillance from Reliance Telephone, Inc., East Grand Forks. The current courthouse security system is about 10 years old and cost-prohibitive to upgrade.

Southwest Minnesota Ride Link project participation connecting veterans, military families, caregivers and others to a single source of information about rides and local transportation options. The project supports partnerships among transportation providers, veterans' organizations and human service providers, enhancing MinnesotaHelp Network services.

By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Dick Seeboth dissenting, purchased two ITT Night Vision Enforcer Generation 3 Pinnacle Monocular devices for $7,590 total from Streichers for the sheriff's office. Morovision's quote was $7,990 for the two devices.

The Trunk Highway 258 Turn Back Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The 10.8-mile project, which is estimated to cost $5.2 million, s heavily state-funded. It includes 5 percent inflation and 8 percent engineering and is divided into a rural and urban (Comfrey) segment.

Brown County proposes the rural segment be 14-foot wide lanes, as was done on CSAH 27 from CSAH 11 and New Ulm and what is planned for CSAH 30 between TH 4 and the west county line. MnDOT built a right-turn lane this year for south bound traffic turning onto 200th Street for elevator traffic. Brown County proposes a by-pass lane for northbound traffic.

The urban segment is proposed to be regraded, curb and gutter replaced, gravel base installed and bituminous surface installed. The curve at the south end is proposed to be straightened to create a four-way intersection square to CSAH 17 to improve safety.

In another matter, during review of the monthly activity report, Sheriff Hoffmann said his department is running extra patrols in the Hanska area and paying for them with DWI forfeiture funds.

A proposed 2013 budget/levy Truth-In-Taxation hearing held Tuesday.

Proposed $30,885,961 2013 budget expenditures are 12.4 percent greater than the $27,482,978 budget. State and federal road and bridge revenue is up 63 percent, based on the county's five-year road/bridge plan and the Highway 258 Turn Back.

County employees number 271 including 197 full-time and 74 part-time, down from 285 employees in 2008.

Nobody asked any questions after the presentation. The board will consider adopting the levy, which cannot be raised but could be lowered, at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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