Six S.D. law-enforcement trainees get reprieve

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The panel that governs certification of state, local and tribal law enforcement officers in South Dakota agreed Thursday to give a half-dozen trainees a third attempt.

The decision came on a 7-0 vote by the South Dakota Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission.

Chad Mosteller made the request. He is administrator of state government’s law-enforcement training academy in Pierre.

Mosteller said the six — three from the South Dakota Highway Patrol and one each from the Pierre, Rapid City and Rosebud police departments — failed to pass two previous mid-term tests.

The academy’s regulations call for a trainee to be dismissed after two failures. Mosteller said the six were formally dismissed Wednesday but he allowed them to continue attending classes Thursday.

He promised the commission there wouldn’t be any future requests for special treatment.

Mosteller said the academy had switched to online classes this spring because of COVID-19.

He said the next group of students would see more time in online-delivery orientation, and would get more attention from academy staff on how to use syllabus and training guides and how to study and use time to complete assignments.

“We own some of the failure,” Mosteller said. “The students own a majority of the failure, but we own some.”

Commissioner Randall Rosenau of Spearfish observed that most of the six had failed in multiple areas and asked whether this was normal. The Lawrence County Commission member represents the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners on the panel.

“These individuals have a lot of red flags academically to this point,” Mosteller answered, adding that he wanted to give them a third chance in light of the COVID-19 changes. Mosteller acknowledged they had repeatedly failed open-book tests.

Another commissioner, Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns, said he was willing to grant the accommodation. “I think it’s merited,” Burns said.

Mosteller said each of the six would have up to seven days, starting today, to take the tests again. He said they would have one chance.

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