Back to: Investigates
July 12, 2016 06:18 PM

Brookings Police Officer Under Investigation For Facebook Comments

Brookings, SD

UPDATE at 10:15 PM: Brookings Police Department have placed Officer Joe Fishbaugher on administrative leave. The department is going through an internal investigation. 

A statement from Brookings police says "Such Facebook postings do not represent; and are contrary to the views of the City of Brookings Police Department."

These days everybody from politicians to celebrities spout off on social media and often their words become a source of controversy.  
Now in the wake of the Dallas police officer shootings and rising racial tensions across the country, a KELOLAND police officer's comments on Facebook are causing quite a stir.  

Brookings Officer Joe Fishbaugher has been on the force for 15 years.  He's a popular school resource officer.  But his rant on Facebook has put him in the spotlight for another reason altogether.   

Fishbaugher was featured in a KELOLAND News story in 2008, which highlighted his job as a school resource officer.  

"They just want respect, they basically want someone to listen to them," Fishbaugher said in 2008.

Ironically his words at the time, could be applied to social media today.

"When you get into this position its not your routine police officer position, you're involved with a lot of entities in the community and you need to know who you can tell stuff to and who you can't," Fischbaugher said in 2008.

Fishbaugher did some talking on his personal Facebook page the night the police officers were killed in Dallas.  

"I have never in my career wanted to strap on my gear and go hunting more than I do at this moment as I listen to the police scanner in Dallas, Texas," he wrote.

Another officer from the Brandon Police Department, Lee Henning replied, 
"I agree." 

Fishbauer went on to say, " Looking like its time for every traffic stop to be a felony stop now and no less than two officers in every car."  

Brookings Police Chief Jeff Miller says his staff brought Fishbaugher's posts to his attention.  They have been taken down and Miller says he is investigating.  

I also spoke to Brandon Police Chief Dave Kull about Officer Lee Henning agreeing with Fishbaugher's statement.  

Kull told me he attributes it to an emotional gut reaction to seeing fellow officers murdered, especially when it was in progress. 

Kull also says he makes it a point to talk to officers about their comments on social media and remind them that they are held to a higher standard.  

The posts have created a big stir on Facebook and a majority of the comments support Fishbaugher.  

Many people from Brookings were quick to his defense, praising his work as a school resource officer.

Here's a quick look at a few others:  

Kristi says she's proud to have an officer like Fishbaugher protecting her community. Adding that murderers should be "hunted".

Brittany says he shouldn't have made the post, but officer Fishbaugher was posting "what the rest of us were thinking".

Nic says "Joe is a great guy" but questions the timing of his post.

Not everyone is defending Fishbaugher. Amy calls the comments uncalled for, adding comments like his help fuel the fire that all police officers are bad.

You can share your thoughts on the KELOLAND News Facebook Page

  • Investigates


We Welcome discussion on KELOLAND News stories but will delete any comments that contain swearing or make threats against others.


Click here for full weather details!