SF Mayor recommends adding 4 new officers in 2018
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – During his last budget address Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether stressed the importance of public safety, suggesting $62 million worth of the operating budget goes to just that. The chief of police isn’t complaining. He says the department needs more staff.
“Our city grew by about 5,000 people in 2016,” says SFPD Chief Matt Burns. “We anticipate a similar growth patterns in 2017.”
With a population increase, comes an increase in crime and emergencies.
“Last year we had just under 104,000 calls for service to the Sioux Falls Police Department,” says Burns.
Chief Matt Burns says it can be hard to keep up.
“We will actually bring officers back in an overtime capacity,” says Burns. “We’ve had to do that to maintain minimum staffing levels.”
That’s why hearing the Mayor say, “public safety is getting the bulk of the increase in the investment,” is music to the Chief’s ears.
“We’re very, very pleased with the support that we have once again received from the administration,” says Burns.
Mayor Huether is recommending that the Council approves adding four more police officers next year. That will bump the department up to 260 officers.
“If you don’t feel safe in your home, business or church, you’re not going to have a good quality of life,” explains Huether.
Chief Burns says getting the okay from City Council is the first hurdle, since money is tight. The second is finding the right officers.
“It is a more challenging environment right now to attract good qualified folks who have a heart for service, and want to be police officers,” says Burns.
Right now, 30 percent of candidates the department hires don’t make it to a full time position. Typically, they go through rigorous training, and then decide the job is not for them. But Chief Burns says finding even one extra officer greatly benefits the department, and the city.
“It allows you to perhaps assign more to the most critical need, it also allows other officers to be more flexible with the benefit times they can take,” says Burns. “So again, everything is in balance.”
Since 2010, 43 police officers have been added to the department. This obviously helps with the safety of the community. But Burns says it also helps keep his staff safe, since fewer officers then have to handle tense situations alone. The department saw the highest number of hires in 2015 and 2016, with 10 both years. City Council will vote on the mayor’s budget at the end of September to approve or deny the additional officers.