Law Enforcement

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A school safety plan at a southeast South Dakota district includes allowing people who are not law enforcement access to firearms on school property. The Tri-Valley school board Monday approved the first reading of a sentinel program.

Nearly 900 students in kindergarten through the 12th grade attend Tri-Valley school in Colton. The building sits outside of town across from a field.

Technology changes every job, and with every change, comes challenges. Kelly Fuller is the Chief of Police in Deadwood. His department has been researching the use of body cameras for law enforcement officers. Chief Fuller discusses the technical specifics of the cameras and how law enforcement officers today strive for transparency, accountability, and officer safety.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls Police officer says a weekend shooting involving federal authorities is one example of local law enforcement collaborating with other agencies. The FBI is leading an investigation into a South Carolina murder suspect killed by a US Marshal Saturday in Sioux Falls.  

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota drivers get new license plates starting in January, and inmates at the state penitentiary are making them. The current design is a decade old, and state officials want to update them because of aging and concerns about their reflectivity. Prisoners started producing license plates in 1929. Now current inmates are preparing to make 1.5 million plates for 2016.

Former Middle School Teacher Gets 25 Years In Child Porn Case

Nov 16, 2015

Former Rapid City middle school teacher Andrew Hipakka was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempted enticement of a minor on the internet.  
The case involves 100-thousand images of child pornography over a two year period and Hipakka’s recorded live chat videos of minors he convinced to perform sex acts over the internet.  Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken also sentenced Hipakka to a lifetime of supervised release.   
Viken calls Hipakka a predator.   Prosecutors say this case lead to arrests around the country and world.

Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and football legend is speaking in Sioux Falls at the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.  Alan Page spent 22 years on the state's high court.  Page grew up in Canton, Ohio and first gained fame as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970's. He put himself through law school while playing professional football.  Alan Page believed education is key to success. He runs the Page Educational Foundation which has awarded $12 million in grants to 6,000 students of color at Minnesota post-secondary schools in the last 26 years.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

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."

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Law enforcement in three states want people to know they won’t tolerate drunk driving. Officials in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota are encouraging people to plan for a safe ride, be the sober driver for others and call authorities if they see dangerous driving. They say they’re collaborating ahead of the Labor Day holiday. Part of their effort to reach people includes a family’s pain.

Officials say, in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, 1,215 people have died in drunk driving-related crashes in the last five years. One of those was Brad Bigler’s five-month-old baby.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Assistant Police Chief Matt Burns is the mayor’s choice for the next leader of the Sioux Falls Police Department. Current chief Doug Barthel is leaving the force after more than 12 years in command. The newly-announced chief already has priorities for his tenure.

Matt Burns has spent almost 19 years with Sioux Falls Police. He became assistant chief in March. Now Mayor Mike Huether says Burns is his pick to lead the department.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is looking to hire troopers, and the agency is recruiting women. Agency leaders are accepting applications for next year. They say this is the first time the Highway Patrol is specifically reaching out to female recruits. Safety officials say they want women to consider careers in law enforcement.

Of the current 174 Highway Patrol Troopers in South Dakota, six are women. Trooper Khrista Nelson went to school for law enforcement and spent time as a military police officer. She’s been a state trooper for more than a year.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Elder Abuse is garnering attention from leaders in South Dakota. A task force involving members of the judicial branch, the governor’s office, and the state legislature are meeting to better understand the problem. They want to find ways to recognize the crimes and prosecute them. Task force members also want to prevent elder abuse.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota leaders are analyzing elder abuse. The Chief Justice of South Dakota’s Supreme Court David Gilbertson says the often hidden crimes of elder abuse are becoming bigger problems as more people age. All three branches of government are part of a task force trying to understand who is taking advantage of the state’s aging people, how they’re doing it, and what can be done to prevent and punish elder abuse.

Elder abuse takes many forms, but a discussion about money pierces Steve Mielke.

SD Attorney General's Office

The National Association of Attorneys General has a new president. It’s Marty Jackley. South Dakota’s AG now leads the group of people from all 50 states, Washington, DC and United States territories. Members held the election at this week’s annual conference.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says he already has the priority for his year-long leadership: policing in the 21st century.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Authorities arrested four people overnight Thursday during a sobriety checkpoint. Officers discovered three people were driving under the influence, and another person had drugs. Nearly 2000 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, and officials administered 155 breathalyzers.

Around 11:30 p.m., bright flood lights illuminate a stretch of Interstate in Sioux Falls. Hundreds of cars follow orange plastic cones and flashlights, and each car pairs with a law enforcement officer. Trooper Codie Schmeichel with the South Dakota Highway Patrol introduces himself to a driver.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The Sioux Falls Police Department is taking the initiative to meet with residents in four segments of the city. Officers want to know issues people see and ideas for how to solve the problems. The meetings are part of a long-term goal that improves communication between everyday people and authorities.

Sioux Falls police patrol the city based on quadrants. Officers and higher leadership are assigned to one section of town. Police Chief Doug Barthel says this local approach lets authorities meet citizens and build trust.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls Police officers are issuing hundreds of tickets as part of a crackdown on unsafe driving. Details from this weekend’s saturation patrol show violations ranging from speeding to drugs and alcohol. Authorities, however, say the enforcement push is about more than writing citations.

On Friday night, more than two dozen extra police officers patrolled Sioux Falls watching for drivers breaking traffic laws. Officer Sam Clemens says the result is 329 citations. 

A weekend shooting left one man dead and another person in custody for manslaughter. Saturday night 32-year-old Leon Paulson died after he was shot.

Authorities say 22-year-old Brady Hooker is accused of shooting and killing a man at his home in Lemmon, South Dakota during an argument that escalated. Hooker faces first-degree manslaughter.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the difference between murder and manslaughter charges mainly applies to intent.

Starting Wednesday drivers on South Dakota interstates can legally cruise at 80 miles per hour. State lawmakers included the five mile an hour increase in a transportation funding bill. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the measure. 

Kealey Bultena SDPB

This week health care professionals are gathering in Sioux Falls at the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Conference sponsored by Avera Health and the Department of Justice. Avera has new protocols for health care professionals if they suspect patients are victims of sex trafficking. Nurses, doctors and other health care workers can listen for red flags during assessments and move to more standard questions to identify abuse.

Rapid City Police Chief To Retire

May 21, 2014

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender is set to retire on May 30.  He was hired as a patrol officer in May, 1985.  Mayor Alan Hanks appointed Allender to Chief of Police in July, 2007.  Allender joined guest host Cara Hetland to talk about his career with the Rapid City Police Department and share stories from his 29-year career.

South Dakota has had its first incident of swatting. This weekend, almost two dozen officers responded to a prank call of a wounded person, hostages, and a bomb at a home in Ward. Swatting is used by video gamers, and their success is determined by the level of law enforcement response to a false emergency report.

Researching Reasons for Wrongful Convictions

Apr 3, 2014
American University

Over the past couple of decades though DNA testing, hundreds of people in the U.S. have been exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit, including eighteen people serving time on death row. But why were they convicted in the first place? That’s something Jon Gould has researched as the principal investigator of the Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project at American University in Washington, DC.

Selecting Jurors in Death Penalty Case

Mar 20, 2014
State of South Dakota

Selection began Wednesday in a Sioux Falls courtroom for jurors who will decide the fate of confessed killer James McVay. The state is seeking the death penalty for McVay who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder in the July 2011 stabbing death of 75 year-old Maybelle Schein. McVay stole Schein’s car and drove it to Madison, Wisconsin where he was apprehended. McVay later told investigators that Schein’s killing was part of a plot to rob and kill his way to Washington, DC where he would assassinate President Obama.

Stopping Sex Trafficking In South Dakota

Jan 8, 2014

Stopping sex trafficking is a priority for U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson.  Johnson formed a sex trafficking task force last spring.  Law enforcement officials say Sioux Falls' location makes the city enticing to traffickers.  It's near the Twin Cities and close to the Sturgis motorcycle rally, hunting and North Dakota's oil fields.  Johnson said there are close to 100 victims in the Sioux Falls area alone.  He added that a collaborative effort among law enforcement can only help investigators who usually encounter resistance from women caught trying to sell sex.

Law enforcement used to see criminal transactions out in the open, but the relatively unregulated internet affords an online realm of shadowy deals and illegal trade. SDPB continues this week’s series examining sex trafficking in South Dakota with a look at how authorities identify and prosecute sex crimes.

Sioux Falls takes pride in being the state’s biggest city, but that banner can’t extinguish the downsides of more people in a small area. Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens says investigators in the street crimes unit focus on unsavory activities. 

Patrolling The Prairie

Oct 29, 2013
Union County

In the Sioux Falls Argus Leader's "Patrolling the Prairie" series, reporters John Hult and Steve Young explore the unique challenges facing rural South Dakota when it comes to law enforcement.  Hult and Young have done research into the challenges of finding and keeping officers, the dangers rural police confront and the temptations of authority.  John Hult joined Dakota Midday to discuss the series.

Attorney General Marty Jackley On Midday

Sep 24, 2013

Over the next several weeks, hearings on Powertech's applications for state permits are scheduled before the State Water Management Board and the Board of Minerals and Environment.  Powertech has identified its purpose is to operate an in situ leach (ISL) mine for uranium in Fall River and Custer Counties.  State law requires a formal process called a contested case hearing that is similar to a civil court trial.  Attorney General Marty Jackley joined Dakota Midday to explain the process.

SD Attorney General Visits Vermillion

Apr 3, 2013

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley stopped by the SDPB studios during his visit to Vermillion on Wednesday.  He joined host Karl Gerhke to discuss the South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act passed by the 2013 state legislature and signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard in February.  He also explained the "Period of Purple Crying" program launched during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Law Enforcement Agencies Team Up

Dec 21, 2012

The Lakota Nation Invitational basketball tournament is being held in Rapid City this weekend.  Multiple Law Enforcement agencies are teaming up to make sure the event is secure.  Officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety are assisting officers from the Rapid City Police Department with security duties.

Tarah Heupel is the Community Relations Specialist for the Rapid City Police Department.  She says partnering up is a win-win situation.