Summer brings sheriff’s office to county lakes


For Wright County residents who have endured a long, cold winter and a brutal spring, the onset of summer has been a long time in the making. With summer finally here, thousands of people every weekend will be hitting area lakes and rivers. They won’t be alone, as members of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office will be in and around the water as well.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said that with summer comes boaters who are out to have a good time, but it’s his job to make sure that the good times don’t endanger the lives of the boaters themselves or those on the lake with them.
“We have a lot of water in Wright County,” Hagerty said. “We have 200 lakes and several rivers, including the Mississippi River, the north and south fork of the Crow River and Clearwater River. We have a recreational services division and we patrol all those waterways. Given the long winter we had, there are a lot of people looking to finally get out and enjoy the lakes and rivers we have in Wright County.”
Hagerty said public safety is a key component to the county’s water patrol and having numerous lake associations in the county is helpful in making sure safety rules are maintained.
“We’ve been fairly fortunate in that we haven’t had a lot tragedies on our waterways other than people falling through ice,” Hagerty said. “I think one of the reasons we’ve had so few problems during the summer months are the numerous lake associations we have in the county. They’re our eyes and ears out there and they’re more apt to report to us when they see something going wrong. But, that being said, we have a lot of officers out on the water during the summer to have a presence to let boaters know that we have enforcement out there.”
Hagerty said that most people on the water are in a good mood and not looking for trouble and there isn’t the kind of boater volume that often results in problems that require citations. Most Wright County lakes don’t have the kind of high volume like Lake Minnetonka in Hennepin County or the St. Croix River in Washington County. As a result, it’s easier to monitor the lakes and stick to their primary objective – keeping water enthusiasts safe.
“I think the people here for the most part are mindful that they’re sharing the water with others and almost all problems we do have are related to alcohol,” Hagerty said. “Our goal is to make sure people stay safe and most boaters understand that because they’re just looking to have fun, spend a day on the water and get home safely.”
More information appears in this week's Messenger.