Pennington County meth arrests at all-time high

County looks to treatment options through Care Campus, 24/7

RAPID CITY S.D. – Methamphetamine continues to dominate the headlines in the Pennington County Sheriff’s annual report for 2018.

But in the report, there are also encouraging highlights. From drugs, to vandalism, to domestic assault, to a cat stuck in a tree, Pennington County deputies responded to some 44,000 calls across Pennington County last year.

Like the Rapid City Police Department’s report, meth remains pervasive in Rapid City. In the past six years, meth arrests jumped from 26 percent to nearly 70 percent of all drug arrests.

“We’re arresting people in record numbers, but the fact of the matter is we’re not gong to arrest our way of it, we need to have some balance too it, we need to get back to treatment,” said Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom.

With an additional $4.1 million dollars for drug treatment in the state budget proposal, Sheriff Thom hopes this will help bring the meth numbers down.

In the report, aggravated assault was also up 15 percent. Sheriff Thom said that this could be for a number of reasons.

“More crimes are investigated, more people are reporting, or more crimes have occurred,” he said. “There’s a variety of factors that impact why those numbers tick upwards or downwards in some cases.”

The county’s Special Response Team was also also called out 12 times from standoffs to the Vice President’s rally during the elections.

But the report also shows 2018 was a year of firsts.

The Care Campus on Kansas City Street in Rapid City opened, providing detox and crisis care services. With additional dollars going toward treatment and rehabilitation, Sheriff Thom says the Care Campus isn’t done growing.

“We started construction on now the second floor which will be 64 treatment beds,” he said. “Thirty-two female, thirty-two male beds, that will open in October. I think that will have an even bigger impact in terms of addiction services.”

Categories: Crime, Local News, South Dakota News