Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - After several years of discussing the possibility of an Adult Drug Court in Olmsted County, one could be operational sometime this year.

The Olmsted County Board was briefed Tuesday on a comprehensive assessment of such a program and there was consensus to move ahead.  A formal vote could come at the board’s next meeting.

The plan calls for a gradual implementation of the new corrections program with about 10 participants. The ultimate goal is to serve 25 - 30 high risk/high need offenders. It’s likely the county would have to hire another staff member before then to handle the increased workload.  Supporters of the drug court say the programs save money in the long term by lowering incarceration and other costs. A majority of counties in the state already operate Drug Courts.

The County Board Tuesday also approved a Social Host Ordinance. Its purpose is to crack down on adults who allow underage drinking on their property.

Sheriff Kevin Torgerson told the board the ordinance is designed to deter underage drinking parties. He also said it would shift the enforcement focus from the underage drinker to the person who is buying liquor or allowing illegal parties on their property.

The board also heard from Hilary Melville, whose son Austin was killed in 2010 in downtown Rochester in a DUI-related hit and run. Melville and others asked the board to adopt the ordinance in hopes of preventing future tragedies.

The board’s vote was unanimous.

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