In Rapid City the police force is made up primarily of Caucasian men. Police officials want the force to better reflect the diversity in the community.
The Rapid City Police Department is recruiting new officers this year. Police officials are pushing for an increase in the number of Native Americans and women on the force. Brendyn Medina is the community relations specialist for the police. He says an outreach effort is underway to get more applications from a wider array of people. In the recruitment phase, Medina says the department is targeting Native Americans by reaching out to reservations to increase interest in law enforcement.
“Any police department’s goal is going to be to reflect the community it serves and its demographics. It’s important to bring a bunch of different viewpoints together because, in the end, it enhances your ability to connect with the community you serve,” said Medina.
Officer Anthony Picket Pin has worked with Rapid City for over two years. As a Native American, he thinks a diverse police force is more approachable.
"I think it’d be a positive for the department and the community. The department can have more Native Americans here and have a better understanding of how the Native American culture and community operate," said Picket Pin.
Officials with the department have spoken to local radio stations to dispel stereotypes surrounding what it means to be a police officer. The deadline for applying to the Rapid City police force is May 6.