Police shootings & pandemic impact officer recruiting for Sioux Falls Police Department

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Around 275 police officers protect and serve the city of Sioux Falls. As the city grows so does the police department. Police leaders won’t call it a shortage, but they do say they are looking for new recruits to fill open positions.

The death of George Floyd and a police officer on trial.

A police officer hospitalized and later dying after defending the capitol building against insurrectionists.

Images that may be giving some pause when thinking about a career in law enforcement. Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns says these incidents do have an impact.

“The scrutiny on the job, it makes a lot of people who might be interested in public safety, specifically law enforcement, and have that heart for service, frankly think twice about it,” said Burns.

Sgt. Nick Butler is one of those in charge of training the city’s newest officers. He believes the pandemic has had just as much of an impact on recruiting than the social unrest seen in Minneapolis and other large cities. According to Butler, outreach programs at area schools were doing very well before the pandemic hit.

“Really what we are looking for is someone who is willing to learn, and really has the heart of a servant, and wanting to go out there and try to make a difference in their community,” Butler said.

Tom: Is that a quality that you have to have to be a police officer?

Sgt Butler: Without a doubt.

Tom: Why is that?

“Because our job is to serve the community and to take care of those we serve, and without that sort of as an intrinsic quality as a human being, you can’t be a successful police officer,” Butler said.

Butler says there isn’t really one quality they look for in recruits.

“We have officers in this department that come from a variety of different backgrounds as far as careers go, we have teachers, people from the financial industry, the medical field as well as law enforcement officers from other states,” Butler said.

You heard right, the department has fielded a number of calls from police officers in other parts of the country, some looking for a more friendly environment, which bodes well for the future of police departments in Sioux Falls and other South Dakota cities.

If you would like to know more about becoming a police officer in Sioux Falls you can follow this link or call 605-367-8740.

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