RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Veteran Suicide is a growing issue seen across the country and here in KELOLAND. That’s why the Rapid City Police Department teamed up with local veteran service organizations to create a themed patrol car as a visual reminder to any military service member that their community supports them.
This new ride demonstrates the renewed partnership between the Rapid City Police Department with Mission 22 and Sgt. Colton Levi Derr Foundation, two veteran service organizations focused on the issue of veteran suicide.
“As law enforcement we understand the issues that come along with post-traumatic stress. We work in a job that is very stressful so we have to have those support systems in place so that we can be as prepared to do the job as possible,” Medina said.
Brendyn Medina says more than 50 officers within the agency are either former or current members in the military.
“Rapid City is a huge military community and so we want both active duty, National Guard, retired members of the military to know that the Rapid City Police Department is very supportive of the military members of our community,” Medina said.
The theme of the car centers around the issue of veteran suicide. National studies have said that 22 veterans die each day from suicide.
“It’s something that I’m hoping will let veterans know who are struggling that there are people that are behind them, that are there for them, that they are not alone in this time that they are feeling alone,” Sgt. Chris Cooper, State Representative of Mission 22, said.
The car shows 5 branches of the military, the American flag, and a soldier saluting it.
“We had a lot of reactions from it, veterans came up and wanted to take pictures of the vehicle and with me in the vehicle. We talked about it and what it meant and how good they felt about seeing something like that,” Sgt. Cooper said.
The Rapid City Police Department has several themed patrol units. They say these partnerships with organizations in the community are an important part of what they do.