Entries Tagged 'SFPD' ↓

Looks like the Police were jealous someone else was getting a FREE meal


When I see photos like this, I often wonder why we need to hire more police. Five patrol cars respond to a stolen sandwich. I have often said we need to focus on ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ when it comes to our officers. We need to have a police force that focuses on being proactive on crime instead of sitting around in their cars waiting for someone to steal a sandwich.

My guess is that the cops wanted to search the car for drugs when all they found was a club sub.

Hotter than a Pepper Sprout

Holy Moly, that was fast;

The next Sioux Falls Police Chief will be Lt. Matt Burns.

Mayor Mike Huether named Burns to take over the department once current Chief Doug Barthel retires.  Barthel announced last week that he will retire in October.

Burns is a 19-year veteran of the Sioux Falls Police Department.  He was promoted to assistant police chief earlier in the year.

Huether hopes that Burns will be able to work closely with Barthel in the coming months and learn what he can from the outgoing chief.

The city council must approve of the nomination.

Just a few months ago, Matt was promoted to Assistant Chief, now just a week after Barthel’s retirement announcement, Matt is promoted again. And as I understand it, the city council wasn’t told about the promotion until minutes before the 10:30 police briefing today where it was announced.

Well it seems like most things ‘Huether’ another decision ram-rodded through? But it also makes you wonder if this has been in the works for months? Nothing against Matt, I’m sure he will do a fine job, but some may be wondering why not a national search? Especially with crime soaring over the past week (ironically since Barthel’s announcement where the mayor accused ‘naysayers’ of blowing the crime growth out of proportion) we have had stabbings, shootings, a physical attack, widespread vandalism, and home invasions (in almost every zone of the city). Seems Matt may have his work cut out for him.

Once again though, the mayor denies transparency to his legislative branch and ram rods something through. Screw the naysayers.

What are your feelings on the Police Chief Barthel retiring and working for Sanford?


And I thought I was going to miss out on the free lunches in my retirement.

I’m not sure what to think of our Police Chief going to work for Sanford;

After more than 12 years on the job, Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel has announced his retirement.

Barthel made the announcement Wednesday at the police’s daily media briefing, with Mayor Mike Huether by his side.

Barthel has served as a police officer more than 30 years. He has spent 12 years as Chief, making him the second-longest serving Police Chief in the history of Sioux Falls.

Huether credits Barthel with making the department more transparent, as well as improving community relations.

Barthel says he has accepted a position with Sanford Health as director of community relations.

I missed the press conference, but I guess the mayor gave Barthel credit for basically covering up the increase in crime rates in our city during the last mayoral election campaign. I guess Huether’s version of transparency is being able to sucker the public about statistics to help his re-election campaign. Oh, and we also don’t have access to any evidence from the night of the Tuthill shooting incident. Thanks.

I had heard rumors that Barthel was considering this retirement after assistant chief Lyons announced hers, which is no surprise after 30 years of service, but I’m surprised he is getting such a high profile job. I’m sure his pension from the city is very nice, and I don’t have an issue with him working after retirement, but it almost seems like a golden parachute handed to him from the mayor and his buddies at Sanford and First Premier for being a good soldier (Huether likes to reward his loyalist boot lickers with substantial raises and other perks (on our dime), it’s evident who follows orders and who rocks the boat when you look at the salary increases for management over the past 5 years) Well at least this time, Sanford will be footing the bill.

It also gives Sanford an edge over Avera when dealing with city police issues having an insider on their team, smart move by them, ethically questionable move by Barthel, but hey, we don’t have any ethics rules for public service in this state so what can we do about it? Also, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t even know what ethics he would be violating? (I guess it is kind of hard to come up with something when no standards exist to begin with).

I wonder if he will continue to get free meals?


Nothing to see in Heritage Park, move along

Seems Heritage Park still has some trouble;

Complaint calls about Heritage Park have ranged from illegal use of alcohol to fights, and even public urination. It’s a situation that has property owners in the area fed up.

We spoke with Dwaine Thill who owns two houses across the street from Heritage Park, and he says the indecent and illegal behavior at Heritage Park is only getting worse. He feels the close proximity to the Bishop Dudley House is leading to an increase of people at the park. Thill says he’s concerned not only for his property, but keeping his tenants as well.

Photos taken from a neighbor in the area show people drinking alcohol and even urinating on her property.

“It’s the scrud of the city, coming over here and they have a place to congregate, drink, shoot up, and whatever else they want to do out there,” Property Owner Dwaine Thill said.

But not according to the SFPD. Just ignore the number of calls, the neighbors, the violations and that we have a homeless shelter close by;

In June and July, police responded to 141 calls at the park.  Even though the crimes at the park are minor, Clemens says police are keeping an eye on the area to prevent any dangerous situations. While some people are calling Heritage Park the new Van Eps Park, Clemens says this isn’t the case.

I think Mr. Thill has the best suggestion to fixing the problem;

Even so, Thill wants the city to do something about it.

“If the mayor wants to have them up in his area, more power to him. I’d like to have him live beside them awhile,” Thill said.

The streets in that neighborhood are so nice, the homeless would be scared to walk on them.

The ‘Tuthill’ ghost and Events Center siding have a lot in common


Just like that, the siding will be fixed, just as soon as you catch me!

Is it time the SFPD comes clean on the Tuthill shooting incident?

Maybe it is time they tell us ‘what’ or ‘if’ anything happened that night.

As I have mentioned in the past, the chief of police, Doug Barthel has said that certain types of evidence wouldn’t be released because he believed ‘it wouldn’t help solve the case.’

Guess what Doug, you haven’t solved it yet, maybe it is time to release the evidence?

Let me start by saying that I think the SFPD has been very successful over this past year solving crimes. Drug busts, murders, prostitution and robberies, within a few days. Heck, they even caught a graffiti artist (and those guys are sneaky :)

Where I am going with this? Doesn’t anyone think it is strange that the police department has been so successful solving many of these difficult crimes but they can’t find the Tuthill mystery person who was shot at on the night of New Year’s Day?

As I have said in the past, I do believe the officer saw ‘something’. But what we don’t know is ‘what’. There was an internal investigation (The county sheriff’s office and DCI did not investigate), NO audio was released to the public from his body audio recorder, a crime scene map has not been released to the public and a reward has been offered.

Ironically, this case is a lot like the Events Center siding issue, the public has only been given ‘tidbits’ but nothing concrete. Maybe the city could keep press conference costs down, they could tell us about the Tuthill cold case the same time they tell us what is going on with the siding.

Let’s face it, the EC siding issue is an embarrassment to the administration and the Tuthill shooting incident is an embarrassment to the police department. They will go away, quietly in the night, no pun intended.

Paramedic’s Plus (former) employee accused of stealing $44 from a dead lady


WOW! I guess the ‘Cadillac’ most expensive ambulance service we just gave a contract to pays their EMT’s so well they have to allegdley steal petty cash from dead people;

While investigating the money’s disappearance, police found $44 in cash in one of the emergency responder’s backpack. Clemens says that was similar to the amount the officer first noticed by the wallet.

Yeah, but is it really a crime to steal from a dead person? Ask James Brown about time he stole shoes from a dead man.

Thumbs up to the police officer who caught the incident. Besides, they don’t have to steal petty cash from people, they already get free lunches.

The EMT, who has not been identified, was employed by Paramedics Plus. Company officials tell KSFY News that he no longer works for the company.

“What this is, this person just made a bad choice,” Clemens said. “It was his decision alone. It was not reflective of the agency he works for.”

Ah, yes it is. What kind of background checks is this company doing? What kind of wages are they paying that they are so desperate they have to take $44 from a dead person? What kind of ethics training are the EMT’s receiving? I think Paramedic’s Plus owes the public an explanation of how this happened.

UPDATE: But do SF Police Officers ‘Value’ their FREE lunches?

Apparently they value them so much, that they need to take up emergency parking spots to eat them;


When you hear the mayor and our finance director talk about the ‘value’ of things when they are not given away for free (Pool and Bus passes) and our police receive a FREE meal card at one of our fine hospital industrial complexes, let’s talk priorities. I often see them parked in the ER parking lot and on the adjacent street around ‘meal time’ by Avera. While I guess I could care less if Avera wants to give away FREE food (while charging the sick and visiting family members) the least the officer could have done was assist the gentleman into the ER if he didn’t want to give up his parking spot.

A few years back, councilor Staggers questioned this program and the parking situation (he lives one block from Avera’s ER) of Chief Barthel. While it is against police force policy and city policy to receive ‘free’ meals, Barthel said he doesn’t actively enforce the policy, only telling Staggers he ‘discourages’ it. If this present incident actually happened, I think it is about time the FREE meal program ends at Avera, it’s evident that some officers don’t value the program enough to help a sick person (you know, the people that are actually funding your FREE meal program).

UPDATE: This was a response emailed to me from a former SFPO named ‘Thomas’

“I am throwing the B.S. flag on this! I want to make sure that the original accuser knows the difference between the uniform of Avera security and the SFPD.  Especially since the original accuser is from out of town and may not be as familiar with the city landscape as they think. Avera has a uniform that is very similar  to what the former SFPD uniform looks like. I hope that a mistake has not been made.
Also, Sioux Falls police officers do not enforce parking on private property.  Before any accusations fly you should make sure that you understand who you are accusing and not make a mistake. Please do not forget that many, many times during a shift, officers from all over the city, county, and other area agencies are routinely transporting involuntary psychiatric committal patients into the main Avera emergency room for admission. Just because an officer is parked in the lot does not mean that the officer is there for a free lunch. The cliche that people only see a badge is very true. We should be very careful to avoid a false accusation. Many area agencies use Avera. Just because you see a patrol car you should not assume that it is one specific agency.
 When I was employed by the SFPD,  we were not paid for our lunch breaks. Although, federal law says that if employees are not paid for their lunch break they have to take that lunch break away from their work station. At that time (and I’m sure as it is today),  officers do not have the luxury of taking their break away from their work area,  they are usually limited to how far away they can go out of their assigned area.  During their unpaid lunch breaks, they  routinely are subject to be called out or to have it people walk up and want to speak with them on official business.
Regarding discounts or free meals: if that’s what the business wants to do that business can do that.  It is no different  for a business to extend a discount or a free meal to an officer than it is for an officer to be invited to a neighborhood block party and be offered a meal at the block party. Both of these situations encourage visibility of officers among the public.  Using your logic, any award, accolade, or thank you, should not be bestowed upon any officer or public employee for the job that they do. This would include any officer appreciation dinner that is put on by any local area civic organizations or a citizen handing an officer a bottle of water or soda on a hot day. If this practice were to end,  it will only serve to distance the officers from the public and the citizens that they serve.
Also, and especially during certain times of the 24 hour day, there are very few places open late at night  for an officer to stop and get something to eat.  Because of this, it is possible that because you see a patrol car, that you may not be seeing the same car for hours on end or if you see several patrol cars you’ll see some officers coming into start their break as some others are leaving.
If you have any questions regarding the conduct of any officer you always have the option to speak with that officer’s supervisor. The city has made it very easy for anybody to inquire, complain, or comment on any officer. I am a big fan of this blog, I read it every day. There are very many things that go on in the city (that we should be aware of and are hidden from view of the public) and this blog does an excellent job of exposing that information. This item is not one of those things.
 I would have fully expected this blog to research this incident more throughly instead of just linking to an alleged or suspect incident. As A law-enforcement officer, I learned very early, that you have to have all the facts to make a proper decision in any incident and that until you have all the facts, no conclusions or opinions should be drawn.”
As a person who has friends and aquaintences that work at both hospitals, I will say everything that Thomas is saying is true, BUT, I have also seen quite the opposite, and heard the opposite from hospital employees, that ‘some’ officers do use the emergency parking lot for ‘meal time’. To say it is one way or the other 100% of the time, is not the case. Just like any public employee, some are saints, some just go with the flow.
As for the FREE meals. As I understand it, it is against policy to accept free meals. And for good reason. Anytime a public employee gets a ‘freebee’ from someone, whether they are a police officer or a building inspector there could be an expectation from the giver to get something in return. The state has a long history with state government of ‘pay to play’. Obviously on a grander scale, but it is still there. Is it ethical for a public employee, who gets a salary, benefits and a pension to be accepting ‘gifts’ from business owners? It’s one thing to grab a plate of chicken at a crime watch picnic or at an appreciation night, it is a whole other ball of wax to be getting a free lunch everyday you work. If a police officer doesn’t believe he can afford to buy himself a lunch on what he makes, he best be talking to his union rep, because it is a sad day if we have to start handing out food stamps to police officers because they can’t afford to buy themselves food.

Mysterious Parking Ticket rampage at Gay Pride Festival?

I have been hearing from several folks that the SFPD street patrol division was out in full force Saturday at the Gay Pride Festival, ticketing cars parking around Terrace Park, mostly for parking to close to the intersection. One person told me he even questioned the ticket of the officer (who claimed he was parked less then 20 feet from the intersection), after the officer left a neighbor came out and measured, their car was parked 25 feet from the intersection.

So why the flurry of tickets at a festival that got a lot of publicity before the event on Saturday? Dare I say there was some veiled discrimination going on by the officers? How convenient to show up to a very popular event (The Mayor even spoke at it) and hand out parking tickets knowing many people will be in violation because there really isn’t any place to park around Terrace Park except on the street.

I often scratch my head when city officials say they need more officers, but all they have better to do on a Saturday afternoon is hand out parking tickets. Nice way to show the police force’s diversity tolerance by handing out tickets at a Pride Festival. Everything has a cost it seems in Sioux Falls anymore.

Who first proposed the use of tasers in Sioux Falls?

I believe back in 2009, councilor Staggers first proposed testing tasers for the SFPD. It seems, like snow gates, Dr. Staggers was ahead of his time. It often cracks me up when Kermit is labeled as an extreme conservative naysayer, when he is actually very progressive in his ideas. On the ‘Su Fu Stupid’ show the other day, Patrick Lalley determined that ‘Only 5 percent of the community agrees with Staggers’ but somehow gets mysteriously re-elected.

Gee, Pat, do you think there is a correlation there between support and being re-elected? Actually many people support him, just because a rubberstamp city council more concerned about developers and the chamber of commerce don’t always agree, doesn’t mean the public does not.

Remember, besides the snow gates victory, he also beat De Knudson when she spent 6x the money he did for an at-large seat, he also won the general election for mayor, only to lose to the well funded credit card salesman in the run-off.

Maybe Pat was saying only 5% of reporters agree with Staggers? Because when it comes to snow gates and tasers, it seems like Kermit has the best ideas.

When will investigators ever learn?

I have heard many stories from friends and including myself when I was arrested about how investigators/officers try to get around that pesky 5th Amendment;

Zell says Rasmussen did not have access to her lawyer, despite asking for one half-way through the interview.

It goes back to a lot of investigators NOT having criminal law or regular law degrees, just a piece of paper that says they went through the police academy or served in the military. While we are always focusing on the ‘number’ of officers in Sioux Falls, we should instead be focusing on the ‘quality’ of officers. Hire people that understand criminal justice, or at least the 5th Amendment.