Dr. Roger Belisle: A clinical psychologist working with first responders

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox.
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 1:14 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Law enforcement, criminals, and...psychology?

One of those things may not be like the other’s, but for Dr. Roger Belisle, they go hand in hand.

“I think I’ve been able to show in collaboration with others that there really is a lot of added functionally by having the psychology element in standard law enforcement operations and every day,” said Belisle.

Belisle is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a joint asset shared between agencies with the goal of a peaceful outcome.

“The more we can understand the motivations behind criminals and other types of behavior, the better our outcomes will be,” said Belisle.

For him, it’s discovering why people do what they do.

But why does he do what he does?

“Growing up I had a brother who was in law enforcement. He was kind of my boyhood hero. Although, I think a real tipping point for me was 9/11. It really just had a strong impact on me where I just felt called to this profession and I’ve been laser-focused ever since.”

“When you look at how those events transpired, I mean, criminal behavior is something that can be understood, it is something that I felt like I had a decent grasp on, it felt like something I could make a contribution to and it was something I was passionate about.”

So, Belisle got to work on his career. A field with no direct path, “and there are several reasons for that. One is that the alliance between law enforcement and psychology is really a newer one and so educational programs relative to this line of work are relatively new and established paths haven’t been clearly delineated. So, for me, I kind of meandered in my career on my way to get here, but I feel like this job really is a great, for me, pinnacle of my experience and I feel like every step along the way has given me a relevant piece of the puzzle to be able to effectively do what I do here,” explained Belisle.

Now, on any given day Belisle can be seen working with Rapid City’s Fire or Police Departments, South Dakota DCI, or Pennington County Sheriff’s office aiding as a part of the team.

“I’m really excited, you know, that excitement hasn’t gone away. Every single call I just feel very passionate and honored to be involved in those incidents. I think oftentimes I come to work and I feel like I’m getting paid to play, I really enjoy it. I have a passion for it and I really do believe it’s a great cause. You know, officers do so much good each and every day. First responders in general,” said Belisle.

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