Community leaders hold discussion on public safety concerns

Community leaders hold discussion on public safety concerns
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:12 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Community leaders, law enforcement officials, and members of the state’s attorney’s office meet Thursday morning to address public safety.

A rise in violent and drug-related crimes has caused concern for public safety. And leaders met to discuss solutions on ways to better protect the community.

The event hosted by Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender touched on issues such as the growing rate of crime, staff shortages, and overall jail space.

State legislators, county commissioners, and members of the city council were able to hear public safety concerns ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

“So, this is important to let us see each other’s faces, let us hear from each other, exchange that contact information, and get ready for a session where when can work together,” said Allender.

He adds violent crime, drug use, and activism have increased in the past few years. He stressed that public safety is the job of everyone in the community, but only by working together will things change.

Pennington County interim state’s Attorney Lara Roetzel agreed, reminding those in attendance not to forget the victims.

“Yes, defendants should have every right in the American criminal justice system, but I feel like the victim has gotten lost in that, and so my call to action to the legislature was let’s remember at the heart of the criminal justice system is someone whose been hurt and victimized. And I think we can do more to protect the people within that system,” said Roetzel.

One emphasis during the meeting was communication and collaboration between law enforcement agencies, the state’s attorney’s office, and lawmakers.