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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. Judges may issue a no-knock warrant if they believe "the property sought in the case may be easily and quickly destroyed or disposed of, or that danger to the life or limb of the officer or another may result." There is no standard of proof required beyond that something "may" occur.
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.
Military style training
Blue Courage training is mandatory in basic training for all South Dakota officers, as is a Fair and Impartial Treatment anti-bias course. There are several other holistic training courses in basic training, like Community Oriented Policing and Emotional Intelligence, that shift the focus away from a militant police mentality.
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture. Not only does the government have a low standard of proof to link an asset seizure to a crime, but they also keep 100% of the proceeds. Additionally, South Dakota law enforcement agencies are not required to track or report their forfeitures.
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests.
Cost of misconduct
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.
Through a ballot initiative in the Nov 2020 election, South Dakota legalized marijuana for adults age 21 and older. However, many non-violent offenses remain criminalized.
Objective justification for stops
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description). In Pierre, for instance, the definition of "public nuisance" is so large as to give police a reason to stop civilians for anything possibly threatening.
Reporting stop details
The Highway Patrol is required to record a physical description of each person who is issued a citation or warning. However, they are not required to record the use of force or whether a firearm was found.
Reckless civil rights violation
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct.
South Dakota has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
Officers may apprehend anyone who they believe is in the middle of a mental health crisis and must prioritize sending the person to a mental health facility if the person has only committed a misdemeanor. Within 24 hours of a person's apprehension on the basis of a mental health crisis, the county board of mental illness must approve the transfer of someone to a mental health facility; otherwise, the person must be released. As part of its efforts to integrate telehealth services into law enforcement, Additionally, the state received a $1 million pilot funding grant in July 2020 to integrate technology, mental health specialists, and law enforcement. The pilot program provides tablets to police officers, who take them on mental health calls so that individuals in distress can video chat with a mental health professional.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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