Brookings City Manager releases statement on 2016 comments by now BPD Assistant Police Chief

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The City of Brookings released a statement Thursday addressing public concerns about the promotion of Joe Fishbaugher as the Brookings Police Department’s new Assistant Police Chief. 

Brookings City Manager Paul Briseno said in a news release “members of the public have brought some concerns forward in reference to a situation that happened in 2016. I assure you that the city does not take these concerns lightly and much consideration was given in the hiring process.”

In July 2016, KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke reported on the Brookings Police Department putting Fishbaugher on administrative leave after he posted comments about the Dallas police officer shootings on his personal Facebook page. 

“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,” Fishbaugher posted on Facebook the night police officers were killed in Dallas. 

You can see the news release by the City of Brookings on the city’s website.

Fishbaugher addressed those comments in a statement released by the City of Brookings on Thursday. 

“In 2016 I made inappropriate comments on social media, and what I said was wrong. I acknowledge that I am a flawed person. That difficult time in my life was a cause for great reflection. It humbled me. I’ve used that experience to learn from my mistakes and to continue to use it as an example to remind myself and to teach others. This past week the choice that was made for me to hold the leadership position of Assistant Police Chief was brought into question due to my past actions, and I understand why. Today, I’m asking for forgiveness for what happened then.

I believe that to be a better leader, one must experience failure. In 2016 I failed. Since then I have taken what I have learned and used it to better myself and to also become more open to the viewpoints of others. I’ve put the community first in my life and continued to build relationships in our city. Once again in 2020, I find myself in a situation where I can experience more growth as a human being and to talk to members of the community and have conversations regarding the concerns which have been presented. I truly believe that everyone has the right to be listened to. Everyone has the right to be heard. My door is always open, and as the new Brookings Assistant Police Chief, I know the great amount of potential that exists within my position and my goal is to move forward as a community, facing issues and growing together to build an inclusive and safe Brookings we all call home,” Assistant Police Chief Joe Fishbaugher said in a statement.

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