Leadership in the Sioux Falls police department changes next month. The current assistant chief is taking over as chief, and the mayor has appointed a new second-in-command. Both men share a similar vision that emphasizes community.
The faces of top law enforcement in Sioux Falls are familiar, but their titles are changing – even to Mayor Mike Huether.
"But it is probably why it was such an emotional day when Galen – I’m sorry. I’ll call you Galen just for only the one time," Huether says. "But you’ve earned Captain, and you certainly have earned Assistant Chief, Galen."
The mayor is appointing Galen Smidt Assistant Chief of the Sioux Falls Police Department. Smidt is a 23-year veteran of the city’s force. He says he has a passion for community outreach.
“A couple weeks ago I had a couple officers stop at a Vietnamese celebration and engage them, and they wanted them to come back to their service the next Sunday,” Smidt says. “And who knows what I opened here, but I think it’s good. This weekend we’re doing a similar thing with the Congo community.”
Smidt says police have an opportunity to connect with people of diverse backgrounds. He says he’s proud of the relationships he’s helped build and that he sees law enforcement can do more.
he recognizes law enforcement organizations face challenges.
"One of our challenges moving forward is recruitment. You know, we have a lot of retirements coming up, and we have holes to fill. And there’s not as many people applying to be a police officer as there was 23 years ago, maybe because of what’s going on," Smidt says. "So it’s our job to get out there and spread the message that Sioux Falls is the place – not only to be a police officer but there’s a lot of job opportunities here in Sioux Falls. So I think that’s going to be one of our challenges going forward and how we can reach out a little bit more for that, and hopefully a year from now we can say, ‘Hey. We’re doing pretty good.’"
The assistant chief of police position opened because the current person is taking over as Chief of the Sioux Falls Police Department. This week city councilors approved the mayor’s choice for the job: Matt Burns.
Both Burns and Galen Smidt officially transition to their new positions on October 19th.