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October 20, 2016

RCPD Community Advisory Committee seeking participants for focus groups

The RCPD Community Advisory Committee is currently seeking participants for a series of upcoming focus groups. The purpose of the focus groups will be to collect information that will lead to the design of better recruiting initiatives for minority candidates who want to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“We want to work to understand what we can do better to foster a minority candidate’s interest in law enforcement,” says Vaughn Vargas, RCPD Community Advisory Coordinator. “Alternatively, we hope to gain some insight on what factors are keeping these candidates from pursuing a law enforcement career.”

The RCPD is proud to serve as the only accredited law enforcement agency in the state of South Dakota. One of the standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is working to create a law enforcement agency that reflects the demographics of the community it serves. Demographically, Native Americans are disproportionately represented among the officers of the RCPD.

“Although we have had strong engagement opportunities, we haven’t been able to garner a large group of interested Native American applicants,” says Vargas. “Essentially, we are looking at ways to adjust our recruitment efforts.”

The RCPD is committed to hiring the best qualified candidates for the position of Police Officer. The City of Rapid City is an Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

Three different focus groups are planned:

  • One will be designed specifically for Native Americans who are interested in a career in law enforcement.
  • One will be for friends and family members of Native Americans who desire to become police officers.
  • One will be for community members who have an interest in representation of minorities in law enforcement.

The RCPD Community Advisory Committee is asking that anyone who fits into one of these three categories participate in the focus groups. They may submit their interest by emailing Mr. Vargas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Each focus group will only require a 90-minute commitment, and they will be planned for afternoons or evenings during the work week. The focus groups will likely begin in early November 2016.