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Like father, like son: Lanning brings unique law enforcement background to Davison County Sheriff's Office

“I grew up with parents who were in public service. It’s something I’ve always known, and ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a cop," said Grant Lanning, the latest addition to the Davison County Sheriff's Office team of deputies

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Davison County Courtroom Deputy Sheriff Grant Lanning poses in front of the Davison County Public Safety Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Serving in law enforcement is in Grant Lanning’s DNA.

As he watched his father enjoy a successful career as a South Dakota Highway Patrol officer, it helped inspire Lanning’s dream of becoming a cop himself. The 34-year-old turned his dream into a reality nearly a decade ago when he began his first law enforcement role with the Brookings County Sheriff's Office as a correctional officer.

Since then, Lanning climbed the ranks at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Madison where he served as a patrol sergeant, K9 handler and drone operator. Lanning’s extensive background in law enforcement has prepared him well for his new role with the Davison County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m pretty well-rounded, and I can perform wherever I am needed,” he said. “I grew up with parents who were in public service. It’s something I’ve always known, and ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a cop.”

In early March, Lanning joined the Davison County Sheriff’s Office as a courtroom deputy sheriff. While he’s served in a wide variety of law enforcement roles, Lanning said his new job as a courtroom deputy was “meant to be.”

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Within days of selling his Madison home after accepting the job, Lanning’s family of six managed to find a home in Mitchell in a tight housing market.

“I had my eyes on openings in the Davison County Sheriff’s Office for a bit, and everything just fell into place. I believe everything happens for a reason. It just felt like this job was meant to be,” he said of his new role. “For the last 10 years, I saw everything prior to the sentencing. Now I get to see part two of the arrests.”

His main responsibilities as a deputy entail courtroom security and patrolling the county area, which is new territory for the young deputy.

Lanning’s unique background in law enforcement caught the eye of Davison County Sheriff Steve Harr, who was eager to welcome Lanning to the team.

“He’s been a K9 handler, drone pilot, to name a few things he’s done in the past,” Harr said of Lanning’s background in law enforcement, noting it’s rare to get a candidate applying for a position with the type of experience he has.

Lanning has already gotten his feet wet in the courtroom, as he helped resuscitate an individual who passed out on his way to take the stand in the Davison County Public Safety Center courtroom during felony court proceedings.

“Creating a safe environment for everyone involved in court matters – not only for the people there for court – but for the attorneys, judges and officials. Making sure that everybody is safe and nobody is bringing anything into the courthouses that they shouldn’t be,” Lanning said of his goals for courtroom security duties.

Lanning has mapped out goals for the future to improve public safety in the surrounding Mitchell area.

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Among his goals are working with leaders of the newly formed Davison County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Team and creating positive experiences with the public.

“There is so much more to this job than just writing tickets and making arrests. I like creating a positive experience for everybody,” Lanning said. “Most people aren’t happy when they see the red and blue lights show up. If I can get a handshake or show of mutual respect in any situation, it lets me know I was able to break through and create a positive experience in a tough situation.”

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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