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Police Chief Reflects On Shootings One Year Later

August 2, 2012, 5:58 PM by Derek Olson

Police Chief Reflects On Shootings One Year Later

It was a tragedy that profoundly touched an entire community.

Now, a year after gunfire ended the lives of Rapid City police officers Nick Armstrong and Ryan McCandless and critically wounded Officer Tim Doyle, Police Chief Steve Allender is taking time to reflect.

"It's been long. The average citizen says, 'I can't believe it's been a year already.' But, it really seems like five years sometimes," Allender said.

A memorial sits at the corner of Anamosa and Greenbriar where the gun battle took place.  And in the area where you can still find bullet holes in nearby signs and buildings, support for the police is still strong.

"Yeah, the community support is still there a year later and a year later it still blows my mind," Allender said.

Just as the people of Rapid City rallied around police after the shootings, the department has grown more sensitive to the loss of life in other communities.

"Whether it's in South Carolina or Washington State or Texas, when there's a police officer killed we identify with those department members immediately," Allender said.

But a year later the pain associated with the loss of two young police officers continues.

"You know, I'm so sorry this happened.  I would trade this incident for anything.  But since it happened, I'm glad it's a year later," Allender said.

A silent tribute to officers McCandless and Armstrong is planned for Thursday evening at the site where the shootings took place.

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