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Is “Defunding the Police” a Rapid City issue?

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 12:36 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Following the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and a summer which saw widespread protests against police violence, the phrase “defund the police” became closely associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It supports the idea of lowering funds funneled into police departments and reallocating them to other public services.

Even with some of the public aiming to decrease funding, as communities across the country grapple with the role of law enforcement, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office swore in 9 new employees today. Officials with the Sheriff’s Office believe that there isn’t the significant tension between the local community and law enforcement here that’s been seen in other areas across the country.

Captain Kraig Wood, with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, says that this relationship is attracting applicants from across the country, including four new out-of-state employees sworn in during this ceremony.

”A lot of people notice the support that we get from Pennington County, because we have law enforcement officers from the east and west coast that are looking to come out here for employment,” Wood says. “They come out here and visit, and see the community interaction that we have and I think that’s really a draw.”

Captain Wood says that in Rapid City the phrase “defund the police” isn’t as prominent, insisting that decreased police presence isn’t something his department sees the public asking for.

”Our citizens really do support us a lot. Whenever we have a tough incident that occurs they’re there supporting us. That’s a huge reason. We don’t have the same issues a lot of other places have,” says Wood.

The 9 new staff members swore their oaths. Four officers and five other team members joined the department.

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