PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A former Rapid City police officer faces a criminal charge related to his time as a school resource officer earlier this year.
The South Dakota attorney general office announced Thursday that a complaint of aggregated second-degree petty theft has been filed against Matthew R. Hower, 41, of Rapid City.
According to a release, the case stems from incidents in April through May while he was acting as a Rapid City police officer and school resource officer for the Rapid City school district.
The prosecution will be handled by the attorney general’s office.
The Rapid City Police Department released the following statement regarding the charge against Hower Thursday afternoon.
On May 13th, the Rapid City Police Department was made aware of money missing from a petty cash box at Central High School. Upon review of video surveillance, it was apparent that former School Liaison Officer Matt Hower was responsible for the theft while acting in the capacity of a police officer.
Upon discovering the theft, Mr. Hower was immediately relieved of all law enforcement duties, he did not work another shift for the RCPD, and his employment with the City of Rapid City ended. Additionally, the RCPD immediately contacted the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and requested they conduct a criminal investigation into this matter, and the results of the DCI investigation were forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution; any further inquiries specific to the case should be directed to their office.
The RCPD worked closely with the Rapid City Area Schools, fully cooperated with the criminal investigation, and supports criminal prosecution.
I recognize this is a violation of trust and in direct contrast to our values and mission.Chief of Police Don Hedrick
“These criminal actions are upsetting and troubling, and I never envisioned having to deliver this type of message about an officer. As law enforcement, we must hold ourselves to a high standard, and this includes holding our own accountable for their actions and decisions. An officer engaging in criminal activity gives a black eye to all law enforcement, jeopardizes community trust, and detracts from the excellent work our officers do for our citizens every day. I hope that by quickly addressing this issue and being open and honest about the situation, our community understands how seriously we are taking this matter,” Hedrick said.