Living in a world where bad things happen, Sioux Falls Police have sworn to protect and serve. That also means doing their best to protect our children.

When a robbery took place at the Dacotah Bank at 26th and Marion Road Wednesday morning, Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens explained the next step in the protocol.

“A School Resource Sergeant notified the Sioux Falls Public School District that the robbery took place and the suspects may have went southwest. The school district made the decision to issue a shelter-in-place to several of their schools.”

Shelter-in-place means schools keep the children inside the building and classes resume as normal. Schools that were on alert for a couple of hours were Roosevelt High School, four elementary schools (JFK, Oscar Howe, RF Pettigrew, Discovery) and Memorial Middle School.

One facility much closer to the incident than any of the public schools is Open Arms Christian Child Development Center. It’s connected to Resurrection Lutheran Church along 26th Street about three blocks west of the bank. Head Administrator Jodene Baker explained the safety measures they took to protect children in their care.

“We pulled kids in from playgrounds and double checked our doors. We also sent a message through our electronic communications program telling parents and letting them know we were secure and safe. Then let them know when all was back to normal.”

However, Baker admitted that she was notified about the robbery by a concerned parent. “One of our moms called when she heard about it and I got online and checked quick and implemented our procedures.”

Clemens explained that the schools are part of the information chain during an incident but places that provide child care are not. “There isn’t any type of policy for police notifying daycare facilities if something happens in their area. The police department does not have any records on where a daycare is located, so notifying them can be a challenge. A daycare can be in a private home, strip mall, church, or separate building and police do not know where all of them are located.”

An additional element to the story is that St. Michael’s School is located even closer than the child care center. The private school is across the street as part of the same building complex as St. Michael’s Church.

Clemens noted the pattern of criminal behavior which led Police to notify only the public schools of possible danger. “No notification was made to the Sioux Falls Catholic School System even though St. Michael’s School is across the street from the bank. It was thought the suspects would continue to travel away from the bank and not back to it.”

Police explained more details of the crime at their briefing Thursday morning. Officials believe that the two men were quite sophisticated in their plan. The suspects disguised themselves inside the bank, used a stolen car to get away from the location, then switched to a different car. If anyone has information, please contact Sioux Falls Police or Crimestoppers at 605-367-7007.

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