Honor Their Service: Local policemen also serve in the National Guard
Our country was built on people fighting for freedom and the freedom of generations to come. Every hour, every minute of every day, our service men and women are across the globe, putting their lives in danger for us.
NewsCenter 1 would like to recognize those people and the people who advocate for them here at home. In this week’s edition of “Honor Their Service,” we introduce you to two local National Guardsmen who answered the call to service in more ways than one.
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Jeff Otto and Damon Lappe both work as officers with the Rapid City Police Department. While you see them patrolling the streets overnight, you may not know that they both have a whole second career that isn’t so obvious. Both Otto and Lappe are members of the South Dakota Army National Guard.
Officer Lappe has been with the police department for 3 years now and has worked with the guard for the past 8 years as an Air Medical Evac pilot. He’s been deployed to Kuwait and to Iraq for two separate deployments during that time.
“Feels like the national guard is a part of my life. It has been a part of my life for the last 8 years. I think I would be lost without it and the same goes for the police department. I work for a great department and it’s a joy to come to work every day. I have fun doing what I do so it’s a no-brainer,” said Officer Lappe. Being born and raised right here in the Black Hills, Officer Lappe says serving his community really means a lot to him as an officer and as a guardsman.
Officer Otto is from Minnesota. He enlisted into the guard in 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan where he worked as a combat engineer and now he works with the medevac unit at the Rapid City Regional Airport, which sent him on a second deployment.
“My team leader was a cop in Fargo. He told me a little bit about what it’s like being a cop and just the experience of that deployment and his stories made me decide that I wanted to be a cop and try to keep people from having to live in fear of never knowing if they’re gonna die or if their families members are going to die or not,” said Officer Otto. While Officer Otto only has two years left on his contract, he and Officer Lappe have no intention of quitting either of their jobs anytime soon.
So not only do Officer Lappe and Otto both serve our community here in the Black Hills, but they also serve and protect our country as a whole.