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County DWI court notes 10 years of success

County residents who overcame addiction to alcohol, through the Otter Tail County DWI Court program, conveyed their success stories to county commissioners on May 1.

This was part of the 10-year recognition of the county DWI Court.

"When we started here in 2008, we were one of only three counties in the state of Minnesota with a DWI Court program," said administrator Tria Mann. "Now we have 16 counties in Minnesota that have similar programs."

DWI Courts have provided counseling and positive reinforcement to people convicted of DWIs.

The program includes four phases over approximately 78 weeks. Phase five includes graduation followed by staff support for several more weeks.

Keys to success for the person in the DWI Court program include:

• Having a "never give up" attitude

• Examining past errors

• Making amends for those errors

• Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior.

• Helping others who suffer the same alcoholism, addictions or compulsions.

Mann said success of the DWI Court is a collaborative effort among county Human Services employees, the County Sheriff Office, area police departments, county probation employees, Court Administration and the County Attorney Office.

"The goal of the DWI Court program is to have people regain their places as productive members of society," said Mann.

County Sheriff Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons said the DWI Court "gives people the tools to be successful."

The five members of the county board proclaimed May as Drug Court Treatment Month. Also citing a collaborative effort was DWI Court Probation Officer Hallie Metcalf.

For more information contact DWI Court program coordinator Tria Mann at (218) 998-8460.

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