Crossing state lines to join the Sioux Falls Police; New officers like what they found in the department

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KELO Sioux Falls Police Patch

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — One officer was looking for a change in department while the second was seeking his first law enforcement job, one that could be in the Midwest.

Both found what they were looking for in the Sioux Falls Police Department. Michelle Smith and Daniel Miller are two of four police officers who just joined the department from out-of-state.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem made a nationwide pitch this past fall for law officers from other states to consider jobs in South Dakota. Noem launched the nationwide campaign that focuses on filling open positions within the Departments of Public Safety, Corrections, and Game, Fish and Parks on Oct. 16. Miller and Smith are two of four out-of-state officers that have joined the department.

On Dec. 18, Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said the department had received 82 applications from out of state residents over the past six months.

Miller is from Minnesota and he wanted to stay in the Midwest for his first law enforcement job.

“I did see one of Governor Noem’s advertisements on TV and it did spark an interest in seeing if there would be opportunity in the state of South Dakota,” Miller said.

Smith said she wasn’t aware of Noem’s campaign until her hiring process had started. She and her husband, who is also in law enforcement, wanted a change for them and their family.

“I was looking for some new opportunities for my family and stepdaughter,” Smith said. “Sioux falls was one of the places that jumped out at us.”

Miller grew up with a dad who worked in the FBI and a mom who had been a police officer. He spent several years in the Army and worked in the intelligence community after that. But law enforcement was always a dream in the background, Miller said.

The job in Sioux Falls will be his first as a police officer.

Smith spent about 4 1/2 years in law enforcement in northern California. She was primarily a patrol officer but also worked with a community service unit, on social media and was involved with honor guard.

“I was really impressed by how much they emphasized public safety and how they made that a priority,” Smith said of the Sioux Falls Police Department.

The four new out-of-state officers who joined the Sioux Falls Police Department. From left, Nathan Wills, Justin Purcell, Michelle Smith, Daniel Miller, with Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken. City of Sioux Falls photo.

The department’s technology and interaction with the public and other departments impressed both Miller and Smith.

“The department is, I dare say, is on the cutting edge with some technology…,” Miller said. The use of an unmanned aerial system and alerting the public when the system is used impressed him.

“It’s intriguing to me that if a department can invest in those types of operations and be very forthcoming with the public with them, it just seem like the type of place I wanted to look at,” Miller said.

Smith said the department’s computer systems are very good and even in technology rich California she’s had to use poor equipment and poor technology at times, Smith said.

The department’s use of social media and public information are also impressive, Smith and Miller said.

“What really stood out to me and what I was impressed with this department from my preliminary looks at their social media accounts, they do daily briefings, they do things to really engage the community… That’s something I haven’t seen in many departments anywhere let alone California where I’m from,” Smith said.

The two new officers are training with their new department.

Smith said her training won’t be so much on how to be a police officer as how to be a police officer in South Dakota.

“(The training is) fully designed for us to learn as much as possible,” Miller said as a new officer.

The training instructors create a good environment including knowing when to lighten up, Miller said.

“I’m very impressed with the professionalism of the entire department,” Miller said.

Smith said because Sioux Falls uses in-house instructors, she’d someday like to be one of those instructors working with new officers.

Opportunities for growth and advancement such as that also drew the two new officers to the department.

They both said they could conceive of retiring in the Sioux Falls Police Department.

During a Dec. 10 news conference on drug crime, Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns commented on the interest from out of state applicants.

“We have seen an incredible influx of applications from certified officers and others across the country…,” Burns said.

“These officers are liking what they see in Sioux Falls and in our department,” Burns said.

Burns said it was the department’s intent to hire the best of the out-of-state applicants.

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