Rapid City law enforcement receives grant to reduce jail population

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KBHB) — Rapid City law enforcement announced another major grant award from a foundation dedicated to reducing local jail populations around the country.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom announced that another $1.2 million dollars was awarded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation. Their Safety and Justice Challenge funding has brought their investment in Pennington County to over $3.55-million in the goal of finding alternatives to jail-and-bail, which include the Pennington County “Care Campus.”

Alex Purcell of the Pennington County Health and Human Services office oversees the diversion efforts that steer people toward the help they need and away from jail at the Care Campus.  Purcell says the MacArthur program has been a great aid to law enforcement.

Lt. Brian Blenner of the Rapid City Police Department says the diversion program has improved conditions that police encounter.

Blenner says the Care Campus gives police a better set of options in dealing with offenders.

Officials say Pennington County was one of five grant money recipients in this funding cycle, based on the success they’ve seen so far.