On November 10th, the Rapid City Police Department hosted a well-attended forum on race-relations at the Mother Butler Center. The results of a year-long study commissioned to examine the department’s contact with Rapid City’s minority population were discussed. It’s safe to say the RCPD left feeling good about the community’s genuine interest in working toward a solution in improving race-relations.
We are aware that police work comes with its fair share of criticism. Those in law enforcement are held to a higher standard, as they should be. That said we would like to provide the full context of Chief Karl Jegeris’ opening remarks referenced in the November 25th opinion article titled ‘Trying to bridge the racial divide.’ His statement from the evening of November 10th reads as follows:
“The challenges we currently face have been a part of life for the Native Community and RCPD officers for too long and I believe everyone wants to do better. I will not venture a guess on when these challenges first began. They are the product of historical conflict within community policing but also in areas that far outreach the scope of this department’s, or more-over, of any police department’s work. Still, every generation has a unique opportunity to address these historic conflicts. I believe in the intuition of our wise predecessors that the 7th generation is going to bring restored hope to Lakota People. I am told that the 7th generation is here now.
I am not going to be in this position that long, but while I’m here, I am personally and professionally committed to doing the most with my time to empower this 7th generation. I hope that this generation will have the support and will employ the wisdom of the elders. By the way, in a different context of generations, I personally am considered a 1st generation citizen, as my dad immigrated to this country. It really comes down to this: we’re all unique individuals, with unique histories, who are sharing this time and place. My hope is that we can do so with the highest degree of respect for each other.”
Yes, we believe a historical context of the issue is paramount to addressing the problem! Though we had a limited window of time in which to provide the results of the study and facilitate a community dialogue through Q&A, we had no intention of discrediting the centuries-old history of conflict that exists in the Black Hills.
We know history plays a great role in understanding where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. We believe this is an exciting time of transformation in Rapid City, and are wholly grateful for those community members who have stood on the side of progress in recent months!
(Rapid City Police Department | O: 605.394.6031 | C: 605.939.5575)