Nobles County Sheriff's Office exits Buffalo Ridge Drug and Violent Crime Task Force

“The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office believes, at this time, that a concentrated focus locally and within the county is a better use of our resources."

Buffalo Ridge Drug and Violent Crime Task Force
Buffalo Ridge Drug and Violent Crime Task Force logo, April 4, 2022.

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office will no longer be part of the Buffalo Ridge Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, effective April 24, the Nobles County Board of Commissioners learned Tuesday.

In talks with Sheriff Ryan Kruger, they identified a need for a thermal imaging drone, which will be shared between public safety and emergency management.
“(A hockey arena is) gonna be a big ticket. I don’t know where the city’s going to sit on this, but we’re not doing it at the moment, I’ll guarantee you that."
Students in Minnesota West Community and Technical College's law enforcement program gathered for a graduation ceremony Friday, May 12, 2023, at the college.

Nobles County did provide per capita funds to the task force for the first quarter of the year, in accordance with the joint powers agreement.

“The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office believes, at this time, that a concentrated focus locally and within the county is a better use of our resources,” states the description of the change included in the county board’s informational packet. “We are also successfully working with the Worthington Police Department on our local law enforcement efforts.”

Commissioner Justin Ahlers made a motion to officially withdraw from the Task Force and place the money normally allocated to its budget back in the county’s reserves, but the motion was voted down 1-4.

Commissioner Donald Linssen said he’d prefer the money go back to the sheriff’s budget, where it would continue to be used for drug and violent crime law enforcement efforts. Ahlers said he had no problem with that but preferred the money go back to the commission.


No action was taken, as it was decided it was not necessary.

Sheriff Ryan Kruger asked to use $7,500 of that money to contribute to the purchase of a vehicle for the HEAT tactical team, of which the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office is a member. The new HEAT bus, which also serves as its mobile communication center, replaces an old one and has already been purchased, with all members contributing to the cost.

Kruger, who was not aware of the cost prior to the budgeting process last year, had not budgeted for the expense.

Two Nobles County deputies participate in the HEAT program, training twice a month, Kruger said, and the county has called in the HEAT team to help them negotiate with barricaded suspects.

Kruger’s request was granted.

In other news Tuesday, the board:

  • Approved Nobles Home Initiative tax abatements for Marty and Ginger Lonneman for a property in Adrian, and for JBS for six single-family homes on East Avenue.
  • Continued working on the process for financing a ditch project with Jackson County for ditches 9, 13 and 24.
  • Agreed to recommend a proposal from PrimeWest to provide managed health services for Minnesota Senior Health Options and Minnesota Senior Care Plus recipients in Nobles County, as well as a second proposal from PrimeWest to provide Special Needs Basic Care services. The Department of Human Services will make the decision whether to approve the recommendation or not.
  • Issued parade permits to close Nobles County 39 for the city of Dundee for 2 to 4 p.m. July 30 for its Dundee Nothing Days, and to close Nobles County 11 and Nobles County 30 for the city of Ellsworth from 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 11 for its Family Fun Days.
  • Authorized microsurfacing maintenance on Nobles County 37 in downtown Bigelow for a low bid of $52,287.80 from Astech Corp. The project, which had an initial cost estimate of $43,963.95, would be completed by the end of the summer. 
  • Renewed its master partnership agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation so the two entities can continue working on projects together.
  • Approved a contract with the Licensed Essential Deputies Union of the sheriff’s department.
  • Updated county policy to grant Juneteenth as a county holiday, provided the state legislature declares it a state holiday.
  • Approved a four-year appointment for Aaron Holmbeck as county engineer and established a vehicle allowance of $600 a month for the term.
  • Approved a joint powers agreement with 13 other counties in order to continue receiving financial resources through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Received an update from Advocate, Connect, Educate of Southwest Minnesota and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, whose goal is to create strong, involved communities focusing on volunteerism and active living programs for adults 55 and older as well as care partners of all ages.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Phone: (507) 376-7319
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