Otoe County commissioners hear report on probation, drug court programs

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The Southeast Nebraska Adult Drug Court that serves Otoe, Nemaha, Johnson, Richardson, and Pawnee counties should have its first graduates soon.

Probation Solution Coordinator Chris Reece told the Otoe County Board of Commissioners on June 22 that the program, which began in December 2019 in Auburn, expects to be holding a graduation ceremony in the near future.

Reece said the program takes between 18 and 36 months to complete and requires participants initially to attend weekly court sessions with Judge Julie Smith. As people work through the program, their court appearances shift to biweekly, then monthly, said Reece.

During the program, participants may be terminated from drug court, she said, if they re-offend. In such cases, the case is returned to the original county where the drug offense occurred, and the person is sentenced there, often facing prison time.

Presenting with Reece was Chief Probation Officer Ashley Griess, who said that 1,040 people were served by southeast Nebraska probation offices in 2020. In Otoe County, 9 youth and 246 adults were served.

The probation office works with adult and juvenile offenders, said Griess, using evidence-based methods to reduce the chances of repeated offenses.

The Nebraska City Reporting Center, located in the basement of the Otoe County Courthouse, offers drug testing, counseling, and job finding services. Some participants use the counseling services virtually if transportation is an issue, while others come into the center in person.

Griess said that 83 percent of the adults who have completed probation have not re-offended in 3 years, and 85 percent of the juveniles who have completed probation have not re-offended in 1 year.

The commissioners signed an interlocal agreement for Southeast Nebraska Adult Drug Court for 2021-2022 and approved a budget request for $15,027, which is based on population of the drug court district.

During the meeting, the commissioners also

Approved a final plat of Delaware Damme Acres Subdivision, a 4.27-acre tract located at 677 S. 46th Rd.;

Tabled a public hearing on a conditional use permit requested by Janet Armbrust and James Welch; and

Awarded a $273,499.02 bid from Ten Point Construction Co. Inc. for a concrete panel repair project for Nebraska City Southeast C-66(507).

In July, the Otoe County Board of Commissioners will be changing its regular meeting dates to an every-other-week schedule. The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, in the Otoe County Courthouse.