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Rapid City police officer fired and charged for stealing cash at Central High School

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matt hower.jpg

Matt Hower

A former Rapid City Police Department school liaison officer at Central High School allegedly stole money from a cash box at Central High School, according to the RCPD.

The office of the South Dakota Attorney General announced on Thursday it charged Matthew Hower, 41, of Rapid City, with aggregated second degree petty theft. The Attorney General's office said it is believed the thefts happened between April and May of 2022.

On May 13, the RCPD was made aware of money missing from a petty cash box at Central High School, according to a press release. Upon review of video surveillance, it was shown that Hower was responsible for the theft while acting in the capacity of a police officer, RCPD said.

"Upon discovering the theft, Hower was immediately relieved of all law enforcement duties, he did not work another shift for the RCPD, and his employment with the City of Rapid City ended," the statement read.

The RCPD said they immediately contacted the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and requested they conduct a criminal investigation into this matter, and the results of the DCI investigation were forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.

The release stated the RCPD worked closely with the Rapid City Area Schools, fully cooperated with the criminal investigation and supports criminal prosecution.

“I recognize this is a violation of trust and in direct contrast to our values and mission,” says Chief of Police Don Hedrick. “These criminal actions are upsetting and troubling, and I never envisioned having to deliver this type of message about an officer. As law enforcement, we must hold ourselves to a high standard, and this includes holding our own accountable for their actions and decisions.

"An officer engaging in criminal activity gives a black eye to all law enforcement, jeopardizes community trust, and detracts from the excellent work our officers do for our citizens every day. I hope that by quickly addressing this issue and being open and honest about the situation, our community understands how seriously we are taking this matter.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Pennington County court records show the case is being handled through the magistrate court process. No hearing has been scheduled as of Thursday.

— Contact Shalom Baer Gee at sgee@rapidcityjournal.com — 

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