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Pennington County Sheriff candidates on the importance of community relationships

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:04 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Brian Mueller, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, and Ryan Mechaley, former South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, are both in the running for sheriff.

In light of recent events involving violence and the threat of discrimination against Native Americans in Rapid City, Mechaley says in order to solve conflicts, Natives and non-Natives need to stand together and can’t rely on elected officials alone.

Mueller says communication between the Sheriff’s Office and local indigenous leaders is key.

He says it will take the efforts from the entire community and a focus on individual actions to set an example for children and young adults.

“Have difficult conversations,” says Mueller, “build trust and find a way to move forward. If we can continue to do that, I’m confident we can make things better for future generations.”

Whereas, Mechaley says, “we can’t rely on elected officials to solve our problems. It starts individuals. It starts in a neighborhood. It starts as small groups. Working together, unified. Standing together.”

In regard to the recent officer involved shooting in Rapid City, Mueller says making sure officers are prepared for those encounters on the front end ensures they’re handled properly.

While Mechaley says he believes officers are well equipped and well trained, “and that’s why we don’t have the amount of officer involved shootings that we have. They deal in high stress situations everyday. They’re able to make great decisions. They’re able to make the appropriate decisions.”

Mueller explains that “hiring the right people, and providing them the right training, providing them the right tools and education,” is paramount. He adds, “then, giving them the right support and resources to do their job everyday.”

The Republican primary will be held June 7th, and so far no on has filed as an independent or Democrat to run.

This will be just the second time since 1983 that the county gets a new sheriff.

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