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City of Pierre backs its police officers

The city commission took a strong stand behind its city's police force.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Cities across the nation are continuing to have conversations about what role their police departments will have in public safety moving forward.

However, commissioners in Pierre, South Dakota are taking a strong stance in favor of their own police force.

The city commission recently swore in two new officers, and vocally backed their police force.

“In this current climate where you have city commissions and councils throughout the country, even as close as Minneapolis, defunding the police and showing them no support at all, I just thought it was important to go on the record.” said Jim Mehlhaff, the city commissioner who directly oversees public safety.

Pierre currently has 24 officers in its police department. Captain Bryan Walz says that the trust the community has in those officers has been earned.

“We do everything we can to go out and engage with the youth of the community throughout the various preschools we have in town, public speaking at the schools, public speaking at our service organizations...” Walz said.

As the city prepares to bring on a few more officers in the coming weeks, Walz says that he is grateful to have the support of his city leadership.

City of Pierre backs its officers
City of Pierre backs its officers

“Its very humbling to know the words that are spoken at a commission meeting about our officers, the praise that we have from our city commission, it humbles each and every one of us and allows us to go out there and do our job with even greater pride.”

The department plans to bring on at least three more officers in the near future. Additionally, the city is currently looking to hire more dispatchers.

Copyright 2020 KOTA. All rights reserved.

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