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Police officer charged and fired for theft at Central High School

Police officer charged and fired for theft at Central High School

By Joseph Budd

Native Sun News Today Staff Writer

 

In a case that is sure to raise eyebrows, a theft at Central High School turned out to be an unlikely source: a police officer.

A now, former member of the Rapid City Police Department, and school liaison officer, Matthew Hower, 41, was charged with aggregated second degree petty theft, after several thefts were noted in April and May 2022. On May 13th, the police department was made aware of money missing from a petty cash box at Central, according to a press release. On reviewing video surveillance, it was shown that Hower was responsible for the theft, while acting in the capacity of a police officer, the RCPD reported.

“Upon discovering the theft, Hower was immediately relieved of all law enforcement duties, he did not work another shift for the RCPD and his employment with the City of Rapid City ended,” the statement read.

The RCPD said they immediately contacted the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and requested they conduct a criminal investigation into this matter and the results of the DCI investigation were forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.

The release stated the RCPD worked closely with the Rapid City Area Schools, fully cooperated with the criminal investigation and supports criminal prosecution.

“I recognize this is a violation of trust and in direct contrast to our values and mission,” says Chief of Police Don Hedrick. “These criminal actions are upsetting and troubling, and I never envisioned having to deliver this type of message about an officer. As law enforcement, we must hold ourselves to a high standard, and this includes holding our own accountable for their actions and decisions.

“An officer engaging in criminal activity gives a black eye to all law enforcement, jeopardizes community trust, and detracts from the excellent work our officers do for our citizens every day. I hope that by quickly addressing this issue and being open and honest about the situation, our community understands how seriously we are taking this matter.”

 

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