The Rapid City Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division is commanded by Captain James Johns. This division has the responsibility of identifying, apprehending and assisting in the prosecution of individuals responsible for criminal activity.
The division is divided into two sections: Crimes Against Persons and Crimes Against Property. They are interconnected, but each section is responsible for a specific area of the criminal investigation process. Command oversight of these two divisions is provided by Lieutenant Tom Senesac.
Crimes Against Persons Section
The Crimes Against Persons Section is responsible for the investigation of all major crimes of violence committed against individuals, such as homicide, rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and abduction/kidnapping scenarios. This section is also responsible for the investigation of suicides, unattended deaths, adult missing persons and cases of telephone misuse.
Additionally, this section is responsible for the registration and tracking of convicted sex offenders residing within Rapid City and Pennington County. Established in 2002, the Sex Offender Location Verification program (SOLV) conducts multiple compliance checks to ensure the sex offender is living at the location he provided to the Compliance Officer.
The Rapid City Police Department also teams up with Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in two key areas of criminal investigations. Resources and personnel have been combined to form the Sexual Assault Team and the Domestic Violence Team. Both areas of investigations require specialized skills to aid victims throughout the criminal justice system.
Crimes Against Property Section
The Crimes Against Property Section investigates crimes in which the primary motive is financial gain or vandalism, such as:
- Residential burglaries
- Business burglaries
- Vehicle burglaries
- Vehicle thefts
- Insufficient funds checks
- Closed account checks
- Identity theft
- Credit card fraud
- Computer crimes, including child pornography and financial investigations
License Compliance Officer
The License Compliance Investigator is a full-time civilian employee. The Investigator is responsible for performing background investigations on candidates for city employment (if required); individuals requesting city licenses; individuals or corporations doing business involving alcohol; individuals involved in security; and individuals who are pawn brokers, second hand dealers, and dealers in precious metals and gems. The License Compliance Investigator is also responsible for investigating alleged license violations and compliance checks.
Computer Crime Unit
The Rapid City Police Department started a forensic computer unit in 2003 to investigate crimes utilizing the internet and computers. The Unit is comprised of detectives from the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and the state Division of Criminal Investigation.
The property crimes section is also responsible for pawn shop checks and maintaining computer records of all pawn shop transactions occurring in the city. The detective assigned to the pawn shop detail tracks the items placed into pawn shops for comparison with items reported stolen or missing from victims in the community in an effort to return the items to their owners.
A certified polygraph examiner is on staff to assist in the resolution of criminal investigations and to conduct post-conviction sex offender polygraphs. A routine polygraph exam from start to finish takes a minimum of five hours. Following the exam, charts have to be scored, reports have to be written and the person requesting the exam needs to be briefed. If an individual is determined to be deceptive, the examiner will in some cases conduct the interrogation.