Gov. Mark Dayton proposes boosting the state’s understaffed Fugitive Apprehension Unit by seven officers as part of his supplemental budget released Tuesday, with another $865 million focused largely on education in addition to his $42 billion budget proposal.
The five-man unit tasked with arresting convicts who violate their probation and parole has been forced to prioritize Minnesota’s most dangerous sex offenders, resulting in a near 100-percent arrest rate. However, focusing on sex offenders means the unit’s overall fugitive apprehension rate is low. In 2014, the Department of Corrections issued 5,180 warrants for fugitive felons statewide. Of those, the unit arrested 361 — a little less than 7 percent.
The Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit sought $1.2 million in funding from Dayton’s budget over the next two years for three agents, an intelligence investigator and a support staff member, while the Community Supervision sought $6 million to for agents to monitor offenders on probation or parole. Dayton’s supplemental budget an additional $381,000 for the apprehension unit, and another $2 million for 10 parole agents.
The proposal is part of the public safety portion of Dayton’s budget, which proposes $149 million for the courts and Department of Corrections. It represents 8 percent of the state’s $1.9 billion budget surplus.