Al Reker Award Winner - Eric Johnson:
Mr. Johnson has demonstrated excellence in corrections for years. A few examples of his commitment and distinguished service:
Outstanding Performance Award Winner: Michelle Sellner
Michelle has experience and wisdom beyond her years. She is consistently willing to help Pine County Probation achieve its goals, no matter what is needed from her. She is our "office expert" on Decision Points, has excellent Motivational Interviewing skills, and is also "Peer Support" trained. Lastly, she is a leader in our agency and has worked with program development in regard to both our Intensive Supervision Program and Pre-trial Supervision Program.
MACPO Superior Service Award Winner: Michelle Pramann
Michelle Pramann has been on the Communication Committee for eight years. The first MACPOST article she did was in 2014.
Michelle is always willing to help out wherever it is needed. With website management, email blasts for membership, training other committee members (including myself), and also with the quarterly MACPOST newsletter. Yes, Michelle is solely responsible for creating that newsletter and she puts a great amount of time into it – and it shows.
She is always happy, energetic, and willing to go above and beyond for this committee ( and thus for MACPO as a whole). She is very deserving of this award.
Excellence in Corrections Award Winner: Otter Tail County DWI Court
The Otter Tail County DWI Court has demonstrated outstanding delivery of services, especially during the pandemic. As you will see, this program has embraced innovation and resourcefulness in order to keep the mental health of the program participants engaged during this unprecedented pandemic.
During a lock-down or stay-at-home order, everyone experiences an increase in anxiety and/or depression at least to some degree. We also know these are triggers for drug and alcohol relapse. The Otter Tail County DWI Court Program wanted to support their clients during these challenging times.
Gift card donations were secured and a wellness challenge was developed. Every Monday all DWI Court participants receive a weekly wellness challenge. Everyone who completed the challenge for that week entered into a drawing to win a gift card. The challenges were voluntary yet received full participation.
The wellness challenges vary, from engaging in outdoor scavenger hunts to picture challenges to building birdhouses and everything in between. The Probation Agent created and shared PowerPoint presentations of some of the challenges to create additional excitement around the wellness challenges. Even some of the DWI Court team members participated in the challenges so they would be included in the PowerPoint presentations.
Alongside the wellness challenges to keep clients' mental health engaged, in-person visits continued with the Probation Agent and Surveillance Officer, drug and alcohol testing continued, remote court hearings continued, and meetings through virtual platforms increased. The amount of contact clients had with their support team amplified. This was more work for the Probation Agent, yet work she found valuable.
Despite a pandemic where we are seeing unparalleled mental health issues across the country, the Otter Tail County DWI Court Program incurred only three known drug or alcohol relapses during this pandemic. This is remarkable. The increased contact and maintenance of some normalcy coupled with the innovative and resourceful wellness challenges to engage mental health is providing the necessary structure for success.
During this pandemic, the Otter Tail County DWI Court Program received some local attention on the county's Facebook page about their wellness challenges. They also received a little national attention through the National Association of Counties which highlighted the Probation Agent in their Faces on the Frontlines series in July (https://www.naco.org/articles/faces-frontline-probation-officer-hallie-metcalf).
Clients have bought in to this innovative program. The team has risen to the occasion. The judge has provided steadfast leadership. The Probation Agent has delivered. The community is safer. This is innovation. This is resourcefulness. This is the Otter Tail County DWI Court Program.
Evidence Based Practices Trainer/Coach Award Winner: Rachel Miller
Rachel Miller has the vision, work ethic, and experience to be the best individual to earn this Award. Early in her career, she began training and modeling evidence-based practices. She also took on other leadership roles such as MACPO’s Membership Chair. Currently, she works for the Minnesota Department of Corrections as the DOC’s EBP Coordinator. She also represents the DOC on the EBP Advisory Board, the Statewide Training Academy Committee, EBP Café Planning Committee and leads many of the statewide trainer groups.
2020 was a challenging year for us all. Rachel showed resilience and leadership through those tough times. Bridget Letnes of the DOC states, “[In 2020 the] DOC’s Reentry Unit unfortunately lost two of the three EBP Specialist positions, it quickly became clear that the DOC needed an EBP position to lead statewide initiatives, trainer groups, and staff. Rachel Miller took much of that work on and jumped into planning for a virtual Statewide EBP Academy due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Additionally, she took leadership of all but two of the EBP Trainer Groups and worked with trainers, supervisors, and directors from all three delivery systems to assure consistency in training EBP skills to agents and caseworkers across the state, all while also becoming a Carey Guides facilitator, adding to her EBP trainer resume. Additionally she has been engaged in Field Services’ Dosage Pilot, the DOC EBP Steering Committee, the Statewide Training Academy Steering Committee, and the EBP Advisory Committee as DOC’s EBP representative.”
Not only did this all get done through her leadership, but needed curriculum updates were also done at this same time. In essence, what looked like a crisis turned out a better product, in large part, because of her ability, vision and leadership skills.
Rookie Agent of the Year Award: Racheal Scheid
Racheal is confident, calm and compassionate when working with her clients. She does a great job of meeting them where they are at and works very hard to develop good rapport with all of her clients. She has just recently switched caseloads, and this new caseload gives her more opportunities to case plan with her clients and work with them more closely. This is a great fit for Racheal as she does a great job of working with clients and helping to motivate them to take the necessary steps to make changes in their lives so that they can be successful.
Racheal has been a great addition to our team in Isanti County. She is highly motivated to do her best no matter what task she is given. She is always open and willing to try new things and is a very positive and upbeat person within the office. She is definitely a team player and often takes the initiative to volunteer to help others. She takes great pride in fostering great working relationships with other county employees, outside agencies, and the public. She always conducts herself in a positive, courteous, and professional manner.