A forum on race relations in Rapid City took place on Monday night in the wake of an alleged hate crime against Lakota middle school kids. The meeting filled a local church.
The Rapid City Mayor and Police Chief were on hand to hear community concerns.
C.J. Messiah is the Training Coordinator for the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. During the meeting he announced a new cultural training program being set up for community law enforcement. Beyond this Messiah says the issue of race relations must be an on-going discussion in Rapid City.
“You have to keep it going. You can’t just let an incident or incidents make you come out and have these type of meetings. You have to leave here with the mentality on both sides that we have to keep this going. It’s a community thing. We all live here,” says Messiah
Members of the community brought up the idea of a citizens review committee to hear and investigate any allegations against the police department in Rapid City. Messiah says he believes this would be a positive step forward. He says a similar board worked well in Houston, Texas where he served as a police officer for many years.
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