FERGUS FALLS -- New Probation Director Michael Schommer has announced some major changes for his Otter Tail County department.

“We have shifted focus and are moving toward best practices by separating the adult and juvenile agents to better build community and inter-departmental relationships,” Schommer said.

He expects this shift will bridge gaps with Human Services, the County Attorney’s Office, Lakeland Mental Health and other county departments and governmental agencies.

“This shift also allows the opportunity to see what is and what is not working and adjust accordingly,” Schommer said. “Juvenile agents will be more flexible and responsive to the needs of our youth and the families that they serve.”

Schommer was hired in July, taking over from the retired Desta Lutzwick who worked 41 years for Otter Tail County. Schommer is a native of Grand Rapids.

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Probation agents monitor an offender’s compliance with court orders which include community work service hours and abstinence from mood-altering chemicals.

Schommer said his county Probation Department has also been working with the county IT department to use technology, enhance relationships and be more available.

He plans to isolate the fifth-degree drug caseload to address the high-risk and high-need factors.

Schommer is working with judges and the County Attorney’s Office to utilize ways to reduce jail time and assist individuals getting into treatment, on a faster basis.

“Our goal is to be more intentional, with thoughtful choices, on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” he said. “Our juvenile agents are committed to doing what they can and what is best for the people of Otter Tail County.”