Anoka County Attorney’s OfficeDuring the COVID-19 era, the unit of Anoka County that handles commitment, the Protective Services Unit, lost two attorneys and a number of veteran support staff, leaving the office with one experienced lawyer and one paralegal: Mikayla Anderson.
Anderson is the main cog in the office’s PSU. That means she’s the first point of contact in the office for examiners, social workers, law enforcement, courts, hospitals, and attorneys with questions about processes or obtaining records.
“I’m the one people call when they have questions about the commitment process,” she said.
In the thick of COVID-19, Anderson took on the responsibility of compiling the court cases for every commitment calendar and putting court administrators in touch with the right people to coordinate video court.
She prepares exhibits, coordinates with victim-witness services, requests records and distributes them to all involved parties, and ensures that PSU attorneys have what they need for trial. She has been invaluable in the office’s quest to absorb the big increase in cases it has seen over the last two years.
Anderson arrived at her job in a roundabout way. Like many kids just out of high school, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
“I eventually got my paralegal degree, and one requirement of that was doing an internship,” she said. “That led me to Anoka County’s civil division. I started with Protective Services part-time, but pretty soon was moved up to full-time.”
Anderson said she loves working with the public and is proud of the work done by her office. She has seen first-hand how mental illness and chemical dependency affects families and friendships, and that empathy is another tool in her arsenal.
“Sometimes people will call and all they really want is someone to listen,” she said.
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