A big step forward

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

Years ago, a sheriff in rural Minnesota often lived and worked in the same building. He was in charge of the jail, and usually lived on-site with his family. His wife would be in charge of feeding prisoners and he was really on duty 24-7. The current Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office, where Sheriff Brett Mason works, was once the home of his great-grandfather, Sheriff Pat Smith Sr., and was where his grandfather, Pat Smith Jr,. also a sheriff, grew up.

Times changed. As Le Sueur County grew, a new jail was built, and the sheriff’s office occupied the entire building that once served as an office, residence and jail. The new jail was adequate for its time, but in recent years was showing its age and the state would no longer certify it for more than a 90-day stay. Other changes were necessary, for security’s sake. It was dangerous to move prisoners outdoors across the street to the courthouse for hearings and trials. With all that in mind, county staff began planning for a new, expanded justice center to take care of all of the needs of the county’s sheriff’s office and court systems.

That new building, the Le Sueur County Justice Center, will be on display Saturday, Aug. 10, with an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Le Center. Many hours went into planning this building, and the county will now have a modern, secure and efficient facility to handle all of its criminal justice needs, with room for expansion.

Much credit goes to the Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners, as well as the many county employees who have worked to make this building a reality. The building will contribute greatly to the county’s public safety duties in the years to come.

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