Finalists to be next Sioux Falls police chief participate in public forum

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken will soon announce whom he’ll appoint to be the next police chief. Current Chief Matt Burns announced in April that he’ll retire in July. There are two finalists for this position, and on Monday we heard from them at a candidate forum.

The finalists are each lieutenants with the Sioux Falls Police Department: Jon Thum and Nick Cook. Drugs came up among the topics.

“We’ve seen some of the greatest years of methamphetamine seizures that we’ve ever seen and probably will continue at that rate for a while,” Cook said. “Last two years, the fentanyl discussion is troubling with the overdose rates that we’ve seen in Sioux Falls area the last couple years.”

“We talk about marijuana, and I think that we think that, sometimes we forget that the cops don’t make the laws,” Thum said. “We don’t make the rules. And people have asked our opinion on this for years, ‘Oh what do you think about marijuana, what do you think about this.’ I go, ultimately the people have the choice, the people are going to pass legislation.”

Another question they addressed was what keeps them awake at night. Cook and Thum gave similar answers.

“What keeps me up at night is the rise in gun violence amongst our youth in town,” Thum said. “It absolutely is a point of concern, an absolute worry. The amount of gunshot calls we go to, as obviously reported by the news, it’s very clear, is a regular basis for us.”

“The rise that we have on a daily basis of gunshot calls, and I would say as a community as a whole we’ve been lucky, we haven’t had more injuries or deaths from these shootings,” Cook said.

The event was not adversarial, and the candidates did not speak in opposition to each other.

“Jon and I grew up together since sixth grade … it’s a long time to know a person, so I know how Jon acts, and I know what Jon thinks especially at home and at work, and I have no doubt that our leadership styles are similar,” Cook said.

“We are sons of Sioux Falls, we are in this community and when it comes to this job, this is an extension of who we are,” Thum said.

Erica Beck, chief of staff with the mayor’s office, says that the mayor’s appointment of the next police chief is set to come by the end of this month.

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