SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The Sioux Falls Police Department could be looking at adding a Report-to-Work Station to the city.
During the recent mayoral election, a lot of focus by all candidates was on public safety and the Sioux Falls Police. Mayor Paul TenHaken campaigned on his plan to fight crime. Part of it has already been implemented with the formation of a Narcotics Crime Unit (NCU) and during a recent interview for 'This Week in Politics' TenHaken told KSFY's Brian Allen he's working on something called 'Report to Work' Stations.
It may sound like another term for "precincts" but they're not. KSFY's Erika Leigh sat down with Chief Matt Burns and the Mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff, T.J. Nelson, to talk about specifics.
"As the city grows our geographic footprint increases and with that growth we have to think of ways to effectively police and patrol the community," Nelson said.
"About three years ago we started to discuss what the future -- as far as deployment -- and as far as where we have our officers report to work," Burns said.
Sioux Falls Police officers are currently assigned to 28 beats throughout the city, but Burns and the Mayor's Office agree, it needs to plan for growth. A recent study recommended the development of report-to-work locations.
"We'd probably start with one location and that was based on call volume and the distance that officers would need to travel," Burns said. "The study actually pointed to the area of southwest Sioux Falls and that wasn't terribly surprising to us."
Burns said the area around 41st - 49th Streets and Louise Ave. have some of the highest call volume in the city, which he chalked up to the amount of traffic, number of business and housing developments in the area.
But what exactly is a report-to-work station?
"It's where they would go get their lineup information from their shift sergeant, where they would park their personal vehicle, change into their uniform in their locker room space, get their briefing from their shift sergeant and deploy from there," Burns said. "And they might also be able to drop off evidence that they might take in during the course of their shift from crimes they've investigated right back at that location."
How is it different than a precinct? There's no separate chain of command.
"All law enforcement operations will still be mainly run out of the Law Enforcement Center but the separate report-to-work location allows us to take a little a pressure off the parking space, the locker room space and just the general work space here at the Law Enforcement Center," Burns said.
Burns said planning for the first location is still in its early stages. SFPD, along with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, are looking for space that makes the most sense location-wise. Burns said it may be a space the city already owns, and may have some infrastructure and technological capabilities they can take advantage of -- and it also may a combined space for SFFR and police.
Burns said he's hoping the first report-to-work station could be complete in the next 18-24 months. He said the facility will have to be just as secure as the current Law Enforcement Center.