Pennington County Sheriff’s Office releases 2020 annual report
RAPID CITY, S.D. — 2020 was a different kind of year for all of us – including law enforcement – a point illustrated in the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office annual report. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office was faced with multiple challenges in 2020 – with presidential visits and protests – all while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
PCSO responded to over 32,000 citizen calls for service and over 12,000 deputy calls to service.
Sheriff Kevin Thom, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, said, “In spite of COVID-19, calls for service and crime didn’t stop. It continued to respond and provide services to our community.”
Arrests for possession of methamphetamine were up by three percent from 2019, with law enforcement making over 1,000 arrests and seizing over 18,000 grams of meth. PCSO executed 255 drug related search warrants and seized $700,000 throughout the year. That money is then transferred into a State Fund.
“The State Drug Control Fund, which is administered by the Attorney Generals Office, and sometimes those dollars filter back out to the chiefs and chairs in South Dakota. The money is also used to offset the cost of testing drugs in South Dakota when we seize drugs. So it helps offset those costs and save us those dollars in our budget,” said Thom.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has had a special response team since 1990, and in 2020, it was activated 13 times, which is the most in team history. SRT’s use special equipment such as drones and tactical robots to help aide them in their investigations.
Thom also said, “In September, out in the Valley area we were looking for a murder suspect and we brought the drone out, probably wouldn’t have seen him, but his heat signature was still available to the drone. The drone could see it from the air so had it not been for the drone we probably not have been able to arrest that murder suspect.”
In the upcoming years, the Pennington County Jail towers will be remodeled, as well as an overhaul of the internal systems to extend the life of the facility for another 30 years.