Police hope town hall turnout leads to more public input

Local News

Sioux Falls Police say they are encouraged by the attendance of Tuesday night’s town hall to address the rash of gun shot reports on the east side of the city. Officers say the possible crimes are creating open conversations and possible solutions. KELOLAND News was there as hundreds of people packed the Kenny Anderson Community Center to voice their concerns.

This stems from 42 reports of gunshots in the city in just 30 days, although police haven’t confirmed all of the reports are actually gunshots. The latest confirmed case happened during an eight-person fight early Tuesday morning. It happened on Garfield Avenue in the central part of town. Witnesses heard gunshots and people took off in three different cars.

“Is there anyone lobbying for legislation for identification in ammunition lots?” a man asked at the town hall.

There were plenty of questions at the event, as police tried to calm concerns over reports of people shooting guns in the city.

“The majority of them aren’t random. The majority of them, involved folks that know each other, be it gangs or just citizens engaging in behaviors that are illegal,” Lt. Adam Petersen said.

For nearly an hour and a half, 350 people and a few officers talked about the safety of Sioux Falls. Public Information Officer Sam Clemens says the turnout was much higher than expected.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s going to be more of these in the future. I think last night was enough of a success,” Sam Clemens, SFPD, said.

People we talked with after the meeting echoed this, including Jerry Shaw.

“I’m liking the progress they’re making. I’d like if they get a hold of these people doing it to make Sioux Falls better, safer,” Shaw said.

Clemens says officers and taxpayers don’t always need a town hall meeting to find solutions to area problems.

“This is one of the things officers are doing daily, as they’re talking to people. There’s a lot of events we attend and sometimes it’s just officers in the course of their job just out talking to people,” Clemens said.

If you wonder what it takes to build a better Sioux Falls, communication like this may be just one tool to help provide those answers.

“Overall, there are some problems in Sioux Falls, but I do think we have a safe community,” Clemens said.

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