Minnehaha County sheriff calls Minneapolis incident ‘heart-wrenching’

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — KELOLAND law enforcement agencies, along with the rest of the country, are closely following the latest developments in Minneapolis, following the death of a black man who was in police custody. Riots have broken out in the streets of Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead is sharing what law enforcement lessons can be learned from the tragedy.

Video showing the deadly encounter between Minneapolis police and George Floyd has sparked shock and outrage while reigniting a national debate over use-of-force.

“It’s heart-wrenching. It’s heart-wrenching for the family, it’s heart-wrenching for the men and women of law enforcement. It’s one of the things that you wish never happened,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.

Sheriff Mike Milstead says avoiding such tragedies begins early in the process, by hiring only the best qualified candidates for law enforcement, those who display the temperament and social skills to de-escalate tense confrontations. The next step is ongoing training and performance reviews.

“We do random reviews of some of the videos of officers, we send surveys out to people that officers encounter, for example, certain calls for service to see how did they feel the officer treated them,” Milstead said.

Sheriff Milstead says the Minneapolis incident can prompt law enforcement agencies to reassess how they carry out arrest protocols in the future.

“It’s an unfortunate incident that requires that. But we need to evaluate are we meeting the needs of the citizens? Are we making sure our officers are doing the right thing,” Milstead said.

And part of doing the right thing, according to Milstead, is making sure officers are fully-engaged with the people they serve.

“To be part of the community and not be apart from the community. That’s always been one of the key efforts in law enforcement, here,” Milstead said.

Milstead says his department also relies on national guidelines for best practices in responding to calls, including the proper way to deal with people going through a mental health crisis.

Sioux Falls police denied our request for an interview, saying the Minneapolis incident is too emotionally-charged right now to comment on it.

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