In 2019, more offenses were reported to and more arrests were made by Mitchell police, proportionately, than police departments in the rest of the state.
According to the 2019 crime report published in April by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office, the Mitchell Police Division had 2,228 offenses reported and made 986 arrests throughout the year, the equivalent of about seven offenses reported and three arrests made for every 50 Mitchell residents.
"I know the officers are more proactive, so they're doing more self-initiated activities, so that will lead to more arrests," Mitchell Department of Public Safety Chief Glen Still told The Daily Republic on Friday. "... I want the officers in patrol cars out on the street. I want them to be seen. I want them to be proactive in the community and be involved."
Altogether, Davison County agencies reported more offenses per resident than 57 of the 62 South Dakota counties which reported any state-level offenses in 2019, outranked only by Pennington and Bennett counties. Combined numbers from the Mitchell Police Division and Davison County Sheriff's Office equated to just under one offense for every eight people living in Davison County. Among all counties, the statewide average in 2019 was one offense reported for every 76 residents.
Among the police departments in the state's 10 most populated cities, the Rapid City Police Department arrested people at the highest rate in 2019, making one arrest for every 10 people living in the city. Mitchell police made one arrest for approximately every 16 residents — more than were arrested, proportionately, in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Brookings, Watertown, Yankton, Pierre, Huron or Spearfish.
Over the course of the year, 1,084 arrests were made in Davison County, about 9 percent of which were made by the sheriff's office, which has seven full-time officers. In 2019, Mitchell had a total of 27 full-time law enforcement officers, the equivalent of one for about every 583 people living in the city — a civilian-to-officer ratio higher than those in Watertown, Aberdeen and Pierre, but lower than those in Yankton and Huron.
Offense numbers recorded by Mitchell police remained fairly consistent from 2015 through 2019, though 2019's total number of offenses was slightly lower than any of the previous four years' at 2,228. The most commonly cited offenses in 2019 in Mitchell were nonviolent offenses such as property damage, vandalism, drug offenses and theft. Assaults accounted for about 13.5 percent of the city's reported offenses, and one of the state's 16 nonnegligent homicides took place in Mitchell.
Davison County recorded more reported offenses in 2019 than all but four South Dakota counties (Minnehaha, Pennington, Brown and Codington), logging more crimes than agencies in significantly more populous areas such as Lawrence and Brookings counties.
Of the 114 South Dakota sheriffs' offices and police departments that reported offenses in 2019, several of those with the most offenses reported relative to the populations in their jurisdictions were on or near reservations. The Martin Police Department recorded nearly one offense for every two people living in its jurisdiction, with departments in Deadwood, Flandreau and Sisseton recording the second, third and fourth-lowest population to offense ratios.
The Chamberlain Police Department had the fifth-highest rate of offenses to citizens, with the equivalent of one offense reported for every six Chamberlain residents, as well as one arrest for every 14 people.