Otter Tail County is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Schommer, director of probation. John Dinsmore, county administrator, welcomes Schommer, “Mike brings wonderful depth and breadth to the probation director role. His years of experience with the Department of Corrections coupled with a master’s degree in organizational leadership provides an excellent blend of what some might call good ‘street smarts and book smarts.’ His collaborative management style and philosophy will greatly benefit Otter Tail County’s Probation Department and our many community partners.” Schommer will fill the position of former director of probation, Desta Lutzwick, who retired from Otter Tail County after 41 years of public service in probation.
Schommer, from Grand Rapids, spent his summers in Fergus Falls with his grandmother and has many memories playing ball, fishing and riding bike in town. A graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a B.S. in criminal justice, Schommer interned with Vogel Law as an investigator and began his career in probation with the Department of Corrections (DOC) in St. Cloud working with those offenders deemed highest risk. He comes to Otter Tail County with a diverse background and a wide variety of professional experiences to share. He has extensive experience working with adults under intense supervision, juveniles in detention facilities, and recently veterans court and drug court in Clay County. He has served in the DOC central office in St. Paul and has earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership. In 2012, Schommer was named ‘Minnesota Corrections Agent of the Year.’ “There are great agents in the county, and I look forward to being able to support what we are doing. The county has a supportive board of commissioners and a responsive advisory board — this combination makes Otter Tail County a desirable place to work,” remarked Schommer.
When asked about his vision for the department Schommer said, “The way I see it, in probation we are all about public safety. What better way to serve public safety than to help clients recognize the benefits of change and to support them toward this lasting change. Long-term behavior change reduces recidivism, reduces victimization, increases self-accountability and reparation, as well as helps clients become productive members of our community.” He agrees his professional approach aligns with the mission of the county as he looks to team with probation staff to find innovative ways to enrich lives, enhance resources and bring a solution-focused approach to the community.