Sioux Falls city council approves new police chief

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 11:18 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sioux Falls officially has its next police chief.

The city council unanimously approved the appointment of Lt. Jonathan Thum Tuesday night.

During the meeting, Mayor Paul TenHaken said at his interview with Lt. Thum, he asked why he wanted this position. Lt. Thum told him it was his responsibility to step up and serve.

“I would say that the last year, it’s been a hard time to serve in leadership for law enforcement, so for people who want to put their hand in the air and say I’m willing to lead us forward, takes an incredible amount of courage, strong family support system, incredible faith and he has all the right elements that will be very successful in this role,” said TenHaken.

Several members of the public also spoke to the council on Thum’s behalf.

“I think he is the right guy to not only sit behind a desk, but he will go out into that neighborhood or that neighborhood and talk with people or say if you have an issue come into my office and let’s talk about it,” said a Sioux Falls resident at the council meeting.

Lt. Thum then spoke to the council, telling them it takes a group effort to make the city of Sioux Falls a safe place for people to live and work.

“It is humbling and very sobering to look at this group I see this room and know we are all working together towards a common good,” said Thum. “I think that’s something we need to remember as we talk about different departments and different groups, we all work together for a better Sioux Falls and I think I can see that now more than ever.”

But Thum was also upfront with the council, telling them he knows there will be challenges ahead and that he will make it his job for the police department to be prepared.

“We’re always striving to be better, and I think from Chief Barthel to Chief Burns, it’s central to the culture of our organization to always strive to be better, to always look for improvement, never be complacent, because complacency breeds problems,” said Thum.

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