RCPD to tackle Native American recruitment

Published: Oct. 20, 2016 at 12:04 PM CDT
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The Rapid City Police Department is attempting to focus on some issues; but they can’t do it without community participation.

The RCPD Community Advisory Committee wants participants for a series of upcoming focus groups. According to a department release, the focus groups will collect information in an effort to design “better recruiting initiatives for minority candidates who want to pursue a career in law enforcement.”

“We want to work to understand what we can do better to foster a minority candidate’s interest in law enforcement,” says Vaughn Vargas, RCPD Community Advisory Coordinator. “Alternatively, we hope to gain some insight on what factors are keeping these candidates from pursuing a law enforcement career.”

The main target is recruiting minorities, especially Native Americans.

“Although we have had strong engagement opportunities, we haven’t been able to garner a large group of interested Native American applicants,” says Vargas. “Essentially, we are looking at ways to adjust our recruitment efforts.”

Three different focus groups are planned:

One will be designed specifically for Native Americans who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

One will be for friends and family members of Native Americans who desire to become police officers.

One will be for community members who have an interest in representation of minorities in law enforcement.

The RCPD Community Advisory Committee is asking that anyone who fits into one of these three categories participate in the focus groups. They may submit their interest by emailing Vargas at


Each focus group will only require a 90-minute commitment, and they will be planned for afternoons or evenings during the work week. The focus groups will likely begin in early November 2016.