Entries Tagged 'SFPD' ↓

Do Sioux Falls Police Officers need better ongoing training?

Everything I learned came from a comic book.

While there has certainly a lot of talk about looking at hiring practices for SFPD I am NOT sure that is the bigger issue. I think our police force needs, no deserves, better ongoing training. Not only in diversity and criminal justice, but also integrity and ethics. I personally think that consistent and frequent training of our officers would produce better officers in the long run.

Citizen advocate Emmett Reistroffer said this recently on his FB page;

The City of Sioux Falls, Mayor Paul Ten Haken, and Police Chief Thum must immediately begin the process to seek accreditation for the Sioux Falls Police Department. It’s not enough for city leaders to simply say they’re “angry” about the recent arrests of officers – we expect a plan of action, and in my opinion, that begins with ensuring our department implements best practices, including independent oversight and auditing. Accreditation alone won’t solve every issue or prevent every case of misconduct, but it should drastically improve the culture within the department and establish standards for excellence. Everyone stands to gain from accreditation, including the Chief, officers, and community members.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation helps police departments operate more professionally, justify their operations, and promote trust in their community. Most accrediting programs require agencies to assess high-liability areas of their operations, provide officers with more training, and hold officers accountable for policy and training compliance. Accreditation also promotes transparency and self-reflection within an agency, which fosters a culture of accountability. When an agency enrolls in an accreditation process, they are committing to excellence in leadership, resource management, and delivery of services.

Recently at Amir Locke’s funeral in Minneapolis, his Aunt spoke out about police and the job they have. While most of her eulogy embraced how police treat young black men, she did touch on something (FF 40:50) that got me thinking when it comes to ALL police officers ‘We don’t want to hear about being a police officer is a difficult job . . . You were NOT drafted into the police department. You chose that profession.’

Her statement is poignant, because she is absolutely correct. Deciding to take a career in policing is your choice. And if you make that choice, you have to live up to a certain code of conduct, on and off the job.

In fact, if you choose to be a police officer, you are NOT even in the top 10 of dangerous jobs. Police officers rate 18th nationally.

Trust me, I am not putting this all on a person who chooses the profession. Anybody that works for the tax payers should feel safe, but that safety only comes from being well-trained and professional.

So far 3 Sioux Falls officers have been arrested over the past 6 weeks or so, there may be more, no one knows for sure, even Lincoln County State’s Attorney Wollman was uncertain if more arrests would be made due to officer Jock allegedly distributing child porn videos.

But there is a bigger gorilla in this mess, LACK OF LEADERSHIP!

I have been warning for quite awhile that our city leaders have been on cruise control and only focused on handouts to big donors (mostly massive tax breaks for developers and insider land deals) instead of the day to day operations of the city.

The city charter clearly states the role of the Mayor (City Manager);

§ 31.002  POWERS OF THE MAYOR.   The mayor shall have the power to prescribe executive orders for an interim successor and for the creation of departments of the administration, as provided in city charter §§ 2.03 and 4.01. The mayor shall also have the power to prescribe rules and regulations that the mayor deems necessary or expedient for the conduct of employees in departments and administrative agencies subject to his or her authority. The mayor shall have the power to revoke, suspend or amend any executive order, provided the executive orders do not conflict with city charter or ordinance. All executive orders shall be filed with the city clerk.

That middle sentence is important, because that is ultimately his ONLY duty as mayor, and Poops has failed miserably. In fact you could argue it is a dereliction of duty. While he is off in the weeds worrying about policy making (the job of the council) he has done very little to lift up the SFPD or even regular city employees who have to go begging for an inflation bonus.

Just look at the list of directors or managers that have either quit on their own, were terminated or retired in 3 short years;

• TWO Fire Chiefs

• Police Chief

• Planning Director

• Deputy Chief of Staff

• Housing Director

• Building Services Manager

• Innovation Manager

• The FIRST and ONLY Chief Cultural Officer (this was the supposed important one he needed to get the city employees inline with his imaginary initiatives)

• Health Director and one Assistant Health Director

I may have missed a few.

I don’t think the city has a hiring problem when it comes to selecting new officers, they have an ongoing training problem, and I am not sure this Mayor and Police Chief are cut out for it. As I said in public input during Tuesday’s meeting, ‘Politicians get angry when they get caught.’ TenHaken got caught not running the city and the police department properly and all the crocodile tears in the world won’t fix it.

Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate David Z on the Police

Speaking of the nut crunching, dict picting police force, David Zokaites decided to touch on how they have treated him over the years.

FULL PRESENTATION HERE. (FF to 1:01:30 in the video below)

Mayor TenHaken releases identical statement about terminated officers within a month of each other

This was the statement he released on January 6, 2022;

Upon learning of Officer Larson’s actions, he did not work another shift for the Sioux Falls Police Department and is no longer a member of our Police department. The City of Sioux Falls immediately referred this case to be reviewed for criminal charges by the State Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) as an independent agency. In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing criminal proceedings and the rights of all involved, no further details will be provided at this time. – Mayor Paul TenHaken

This was the statement he released today after an officer was arrested for Federal child pornography charges;

Upon learning of the allegations surrounding Officer Schauer’s arrest, he did not work another shift for the Sioux Falls Police Department and is no longer a member of our Police department. In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing criminal proceedings and the rights of all involved, no further details will be provided at this time. – Mayor Paul TenHaken

I don’t want to get into either case, I try to have a little faith in our justice system and both officers deserve their day in court. That is a discussion for another day.

But what I find strange is it seems Poops, his police department and his communications team decided to recycle the EXACT SAME STATEMENT.

Cruise Control government at it’s finest. I wonder if they also used Grammarly?

. . . and people make fun of my writing skills.

Besides the two cases being completely different on many levels (one officer wasn’t arrested until months later after the incident and no one knows when he was terminated), the other officer was arrested only about 4 days after being suspected of committing a crime.

This incredible lack of leadership is shown by how he handled to respond to two different situations with police officers in an identical manner.

I’m sure when he heard about this (probably yesterday) his first response was, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

It seems our new Police Chief has his work cut out for him. Makes you wonder why the last chief retired so suddenly to help run a food bank?

Sioux Falls Police Officer gets fired from his part-time food delivery job

Recently Sioux Falls patrol officer Paul Whitechurch got the idea to join a national food delivery company for a side hustle after seeing one of his fellow officers with such a positive experience that took over social media in Sioux Falls.


“I just thought after sitting in my patrol car all day at the skate park it would be a nice change to actually work in a moving car.” said officer Whitechurch “While police work is certainly very fulfilling, what attracted me to this side hustle is the pleasure of delivering fast food to lazy bastards who are willing to pay $10 bucks for me to deliver food from a restaurant a 3 blocks away.”

Whitechurch was surprised that after only a week on the job that the corporate office informed him that he was terminated.

We contacted the office to see if we could figure out why he was terminated so quickly? They sent us a statement;

‘While we try not to talk about why our independent contractors are terminated, we feel Whitechurch broke so many rules we needed to share. His delivery response times were about 3 to 4 times slower than our Sioux Falls average and sometimes he would bring 4-6 friends to assist him with the delivery. He was also caught eating the food he was supposed to deliver and even if he made it in good time, he never wore a mask when in contact with customers. That may fly at his day job, but at our business we take our protocols seriously and they must be followed.’

Name revealed in lawsuit against former Sioux Falls Police officer

In a 321 notice filed recently, the name of the man assaulted was revealed and all the charges that were dropped against him. While this is a public document, I blocked out his name and I encourage anyone who wants to know can contact the city for the document. I just found the notice interesting and a little more information than what the SFPD and AG is supplying the public and media.

This is why Police Body Cams are Critical

I totally agree with Chief Thum, you cannot control human beings all the time;

Joseph Larson, 32, has been charged in a case stemming from an incident on July 24 when he used improper force while restraining a man who was under arrest, according to court documents. Police body camera and in-car camera footage shows Larson striking the man several times, including multiple times in the groin, while trying to secure a seat belt around him in the back of a patrol car.

This has been my argument for a long time, body cams are there to not only protect the officer but the citizen that is being arrested. Obviously in this case, he used excessive force. I guess my question though is was officer Larson relieved of duty immediately after the footage was sent to DCI or did he remain on the force until the AG decided to press charges? It is kind of unclear when he was booted?

“Upon learning about Officer Larson’s actions, he did not work another shift for the Sioux Falls Police Department and is again no longer a member of our department,” Thum said during police briefing.

This brings me to another long standing issue I have not only with the SFPD but with this administration as a whole. Besides the immense lack of transparency and the deep hatred towards open government, even when they are communicating to the public, they are very vague. When was he terminated? A date would be nice. Notice the incident happened July 24th and the arrest warrant did not occur until yesterday. What took so long? You also have to take into account that the city has another case pending that the SD Supreme Court threw back at the lower court. As far as we know, the officer(s) involved in that case still work for the city. Or do they? Nobody knows.

While I appreciate the action being taken against this bad apple, it would be nice to have some clarification about when the officer was terminated . . . oh . . . and if you have a suspect in custody yet for the shootout at the late night Taco Shop? Maybe we can ask the Tuthill ghost ðŸ˜Š

Why do the Police continue to receive FREE food?

Starting pay for officers is $49K a year, THAT IS STARTING PAY. They can afford their own meals. I am not sure why the hospital(s) continue to give them free food. Read this comment and thread about it. While I know in the past when Councilor Staggers has asked about the FREE meals, Chief Barthel and Burns have both stated that it is discouraged and against policy to accept FREE meals. I think FREE coffee and fountain pop is acceptable, but not sure. If you read the comments you will see a continuing theme.

The situation at The Dudley House is worsening

I have often assumed that it was only a matter of time that people started dying in the parking lot at the Dudley House. Only a few months ago a stabbing occurred across the street and we also found out recently that calls to that intersection (area) make up 20% of ALL police calls in our city.

Now someone has died in their car in the parking lot due to a fire. While there is an ongoing investigation, some of my city hall moles have told me what initially was found. It was likely NOT foul play or an ACCIDENT. There is also a rumor going around that the person was a resident of the facility but was having some conflicts with them.

Like I said, the investigation is ongoing, but the SFFD needs to be upfront and honest with what happened, no matter what it was. You must first face the truth before solving a problem.

As you know, I have been pressuring the Mayor and the City Council to act with a task force that involves the entire neighborhood and other city resources. I have been told over the last couple of days the new Police Chief has been trying to come up with a strategy to fix some of the issues. I remain adamant this is a community issue that must to solved publicly and transparently involving many groups. I would even be willing to serve on the task force since this issue does overflow into my neighborhood almost a mile away.

I honestly believe that the reason no public task force is being put together is because it is 4 months from an election and if certain people in office just ignore the problem or try to quietly solve it on their own it will just go away.

I wish Chief Thum the best of luck, but I think he knows this will take a village to solve not a quiet baton.

Someone from the Sioux Falls Media finally covers the Chaos at the Dudley House

Another Broken Poops Promise, when he was running for Mayor he said he would close the Dudley House because he would eliminate homelessness in Sioux Falls. That reminds me of the time I said I would not get drunk on St. Patty’s then 20 minutes later I was finishing my 3rd Irish Car bomb (they are very delicious).

The Argus finally did a story about it, the day they shut off the presses and made it only for online subscribers which is an intriguing editing decision from the braintrust running that joint.

What is that saying about a bear in the woods?

While it is an interesting story (that no one will see or read), this part literally had me fall out of my chair;

Since 2017, failure to vacate has been the top call to police near Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue. Thus far in 2021, it’s accounted for 20% of the 531 criminal reports taken by the police, according to data collected by the Argus Leader.

Maybe I am reading that wrong (I hope I am) but ONE intersection in this city accounts for 20% of the city’s criminal calls and reports in the entire city!? WTF!?

As I have said in the past, there is NO one solution, but in order to have a solution people need to put their heads together. That means people who live in the neighborhood, the businesses, the SFPD the City Council, churches and many others. When is the City Council and Mayor (you know, the supposed leaders of this town who drive autonomous vehicles thru Tuesday night meetings) going to call on a task force to be put together and have aggressive public meetings to combat this? A vigorous open public discussion with the community could put some solutions in motion. Blaming Covid for the problem or as Police Chief Thumbs did the ‘neighborhood’ area just doesn’t cut it.

Of course, you will see little to no action, even though I do know that some councilors and patrol officers do want solutions, but who has time for 8th & Indiana when we have Blizzards to hand out at Dairy Queen?

Sioux Falls Crime Stats Update

I have the full video of the presentation (the city one on YT has edited out the Q & A) I also have the PP presentation HERE (still not posted anywhere on the city website).