ABOVE: Senator Amy Klobuchar and Martin County Commissioner Kathy Smith discuss funding for the proposed Public Safety and Justice Center Saturday morning after a tour of the current Law Enforcement Center in Fairmont. Photo by Brooke Wohlrabe.
FAIRMONT– On Saturday Senator Amy Klobuchar was in Fairmont to take a brief tour of the Law Enforcement Center and hear from Martin County leaders about the quest to secure funding for a new Public Safety and Justice Center that would house both the county sheriff, Fairmont police and law enforcement operations.
Those present included County Commissioners Kathy Smith and Steve Flohrs, both of whom are on the justice center committee; County Coordinator Scott Higgins; Sheriff Jeff Markquart and Chief Deputy Corey Klanderud; County Attorney Taylor McGowan; Fairmont Mayor Lee Baarts.
After introductions, Klobuchar was brought around some of the office spaces in the law enforcement center and able to see the cramped quarters and need for more space. Throughout the tour some of the day-to-day operations were discussed, along with the planned changes which would result in improved operations for both employees and the public.
The county has been actively working on securing funding for a new Regional Public Safety and Justice Center since 2018. As part of the process, the county had submitted a congressionally directed spending request for the project in the amount of $1.1 million. This summer, with the support of both Klobuchar and Congressman Brad Finstad, the request, and thus the project, has moved one step forward.
Klobuchar’s visit provided an opportunity for her to stop and view the project and hear from local leaders on what her support means. As the former county attorney for Hennepin County, Klobuchar said she appreciated everything that those in the country were doing to maintain operations despite the need for more space and an updated facility. She also thanked everyone for their work toward getting funding for the project.
On Oct. 5, members of the Senate Capitol Investment committee will also take a tour of the law enforcement center as the county has also requested $12.7 million from state legislators.