Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the individuals who live and/or work in Mitchell.
Samantha Pulse likes animals, but her goal is to protect people.
The Salem native is a recent graduate of Lake Area Technical Institute's law enforcement program, and in June she became the Mitchell Police Department's animal control officer.
"I've had everything from calls about bats to chasing dogs that have gotten loose," she said.
Also within her area of responsibility is the Pedal Power program. Abandoned, unclaimed bicycles are collected, kept by the police department for 90 days in case an owner turns up, and then the bikes are sent to the Mike Durfee State Prison where they are repaired and refurbished. The bikes then are donated to kids who may not have the means to purchase a bike.
Samantha's desire to help and protect citizens goes back to her youth in Salem. When she was in high school, she worked as a volunteer firefighter. She shadowed others until she could actively participate at age 17. When she was at LATI, she worked with Codington County Search and Rescue.
Her goal is to be a patrol officer, and she's been through the state's Emergency Vehicle Operation Course. However, patrol officers must be at least 21 years old, so she is eagerly awaiting her April birthday to qualify. In the meantime, she pitches in wherever she can to assist others on the police force.
"My mom and dad have always told me hard work pays off and builds character," she said. "I have to agree with them; I would not be where I am today without my parents."
Although Samantha has been in Mitchell only a few months, she has made an effort to get involved and meet people. Her love of sports and fitness has helped her connect; she plays on a coed softball team, and her favorite sport is basketball.
"When I am playing basketball, it's a time to clear my head," she said. "Basketball is my comfort zone, and I love the feeling that I have when I play the sport."
Samantha has found Mitchell to be the perfect location: close to home and family, whom she loves spending time with. Because she likes to stay busy, she and her mom and sisters help her dad with his side business, carpentry.
"I'm not even sure how many houses I have helped shingle," she said. "I even did a demonstration speech in high school on how to shingle."
Being close to Salem also means she can follow her two younger sisters' sports at McCook Central.
In her time at her new job, she's only had a few surprises.
"I'm busier with animal calls than I expected, at about three per day," she said. "And at certain times of the day, I'm surprised at how much traffic there is in Mitchell, since I'm from a small town."
Occasional traffic woes aside, Samantha finds Mitchell to be the right size for her.
"I can't imagine living in Sioux Falls," she said. "I like to be in a smaller community where it's easier to get to know people, so I can serve the public better."