Is the SFPD monitoring public input and commentary?

Last night I heard a rumor that the Sioux Falls Police Department has been monitoring citizens at public input and journalists who may be saying disparaging remarks about the department. At first I was a little amused by the rumor and I asked, “You mean like in the book 1984?” and this person replied, “Pretty much.”

I’m not going accuse the current mayor of concocting such a policy, or even if he is aware (though he probably is). I have a feeling this started under the last administration due to his never ending paranoia about what the media said about him (mostly because he got caught in several lies). I’m guessing the new Chief, Matt Burns was probably directed by him to start watching people.

At this point I only know about a handful of people who actively being ‘watched’ for what they say or do. Obviously city officials read my blog, I have no doubt about it, and while I am not bothered by it, I am concerned about other private citizens being monitored for practicing their 1st Amendment rights. It is unconstitutional and if the rumor turns out to be true, it could set the city up for a very unfavorable constitutional lawsuit especially if entities like the ACLU and NCAC (National Coalition Against Censorship) get involved.

My hope is that this has just happened randomly and is not an ongoing procedure. We have a lot of issues in our community when dealing with crime, especially Meth addiction and Human Trafficking. I think the SFPD needs to focus on those problems and NOT worry about what the citizenry is saying about them.

• On a different note, I did hear that the SFPD will get body cameras this year.

• There was also over 100 code enforcement letters sent to the Norton Acres section of Sioux Falls. They were annexed in decades ago but have NO curb or gutter. It’s a mix and match of different homes and mobile homes. The code enforcement office was trying to make the neighborhood adhere to standards that neighborhoods within the city proper adhere to. My first suggestion before cracking down on the homeowners in that neighborhood would be for the city to fix the roads and update the street lighting. I guess the mass code enforcement blanketing has been called off for now.


#1 anonymous on 08.04.18 at 8:43 pm

The property owners in Norton Acres need to talk to the folks in Orchard Heights.

The City tried the same thing with that neighborhood (recently, within the last 2-3 years). The City had to back down because some wise property owners had kept all their paperwork going back decades showing their protections as a neighborhood.

#2 I am groot on 08.04.18 at 11:07 pm

“It is unconstitutional and if the rumor turns out to be true, it could set the city up for a very unfavorable constitutional lawsuit”

I really shouldn’t waste my time on this ridiculous post but you often post BS rumors to drum up conversation so what the hell, why not.

So what exactly is the SFPD doing that is violating the constitutional rights of people at council meetings or the rights of journalists? Does the SFPD get to determine who talks at public input? Do they get to decide what is printed about them? Your rumor is they are monitoring…big whoopdy Doo… Help me understand what laws are being broken.

#3 On My Way To Sturgis on 08.04.18 at 11:23 pm

Between donuts and producing videos, when do they have the time to “monitor” citizens?

But I will tell you a funny story – under Nixon and
Hoover(FBI) in the early 1970s – local police departments were encouraged to film protesters
or agitators at political events;and I remember to this day,at age nine,standing with my 18 year old sister and some of her political/hippie friends out at the Arena parking lot, while the SD GOP hosted a political rally with then VP Spiro T. Agnew at the Arena in the fall of 1970. And guess what? The SFPD was filming
us with a movie camera, which caused us to wave back at them and smile. So if they can think that nine year olds are a threat to society in time and place, then a course they are going to “monitor” citizens even to this day. It’s most likely a sign of institutional paranoia…. 😉



#4 l3wis on 08.04.18 at 11:24 pm

After posting this today I actually got further confirmation that this is going on, hopefully we will get to that in the next couple of days.

But I take issue with this statement;

“Your rumor is they are monitoring…big whoopdy Doo… Help me understand what laws are being broken.”

Monitoring drug dealers, pimps and sex offenders? BRAVO. That’s their job. Monitoring people who may be critical of their practices? Creepy, and Unconstitutional.

#5 D@ily Spin on 08.05.18 at 6:41 am

I was harassed starting with Munson. Huether recruited my neighbor to make a dozen unfounded complaints. I got used to answering the door to police. Eventually, I threatened making false charges against the neighbor and he moved.

I’m hoping the Norton Acres people get together as a class. Real estate is a bundle of rights that’s the present property and improvements. The city can’t force codes compliance on newly annexed land except for proposed new improvements. I suggest their lawyer cite Daily vs. City (SD Supreme Court) in which city ordinances and judicial process was proven unconstitutional. Any action brought by the city can be readily dismissed. There are many more cases as well. The city got tired of getting whipped. They threaten with an ignorant and fluffy code enforcer but he has no enforceable authority.

#6 D@ily Spin on 08.05.18 at 6:45 am

It’s sad when citizens must protect themselves from their government. When it comes to the City of Sioux Falls, founding fathers roll in their graves onto their stomach and pass gas.

#7 Warren Phear on 08.05.18 at 9:39 am

Saw a hat the other day I liked. It was blue, not red. Instead of MAGA, it said Make Orwell Fiction Again.

#8 Donald Pay on 08.05.18 at 5:05 pm

Jeez, On the Way to Sturgis, I was at that demonstration, too, and I remember the filming. I remember giving them the finger. Now we sort of want the cops to film to prevent everyone, including the cops, from getting out of control. Back then I was a little miffed about the filming. Now, eh, everyone has a camera on their mobile phone. If you’re protesting in public, you are going to be in computer storage for posterity. At least history won’t be skewed toward the elites anymore, but you aren’t going to be protesting anonymously either, unless you dress up like the original Tea Party.

I don’t get too exercised about police going over public things like blogs or social media. Anytime you post, it’s a published source that anyone can access. You could make the argument that monitoring the public’s criticism is a good thing for civil servants to do, as long as they use the criticism to improve their services to people, rather than harassing them as they did in the 60s. If people feel the authorities are overstepping the law, lawyer up and file a suit.

#9 Donald Pay on 08.05.18 at 5:30 pm

Now, regarding Norton Acres. I had friends who lived there. My recollection is they fought like hell for years not to be annexed. They had a nice neighborhood organization for a while, led by Faye Polman (sp?). Most of the folks were dirt poor, and they were afraid the city taxes and fees and requirements would be so high that it would force them out so the big shots could take over and redevelop the area. My understanding was that curb and gutter was one thing they didn’t want at the time because the homeowners would be responsible for most of the costs. I could be wrong about that . It’s been 40-50 years now.

#10 South da Dumbass on 08.05.18 at 7:39 pm

So your saying they are watching a bunch of crazy idiots speaking in public or over a free publicly funded web site. How Orwellian. The only reason that ANYONE watches public input is for pure entertainment value…..PS time to up your meds again……

#11 Fluff McFluffin on 08.05.18 at 7:47 pm

You believe the police are watching you and call them paranoid for doing it. Oh the irony in that.

#12 D@ily Spin on 08.06.18 at 7:04 am

DP#9, lawyering up is what they want you to do. It’s a free country but you can’t afford to use the law. Lawyers only take accident and workmens comp cases on contingency. The ACLU is just another nonprofit that makes members rich without providing service. The city wears you down financially with stalling and ridiculous litigation. China (a communist country) has more respect for citizens without there being civil rights.

#13 D@ily Spin on 08.06.18 at 7:13 am

Eventually, the city will do curb and gutter assessing homeowners outrageously and invoking high real estate values such that they can’t afford property taxes. The city calls it progress. I call it ‘Blockbusting’.

#14 Fluff McFluffin on 08.06.18 at 8:52 am

@Daily. China has more respect for its citizens? Really? The problem with you and your ilk is that you are so prone to hyperbole that when it comes time for strong statements your words fall flat because you can’t come up with anything better. I can’t wait until Dems have to start comparing those of us on the center to right to supervillains from movies. “That mayor Paul’s take on TIFs reminds me of when Thanos killed half of the universe!. Yeah! You preach it brother! DOWN WITH EVERYTHING! YEAH!”

#15 D@ily Spin on 08.06.18 at 9:41 am

China has a plan to eliminate poverty by 2020. They are on track and it could happen. I’m not promoting communism. Instead, I feel it’s time to get back to fundamental democracy. The US has become a bureaucratic republic to the point that the middle class feels freedom but it’s suppressed when you need it. This country has the highest prison population percentage in the world. Police can plant drugs on you and seize your property. You can be arrested on trumped up charges if you speak at Public Input.

#16 South da Dumbass on 08.06.18 at 2:25 pm

@ Daily Spin…Up your meds too…………

#17 Ljl on 08.09.18 at 8:40 am

And the beat goes on.