Career Paths


At the Sioux Falls Police Department, the career opportunities are abundant and diverse. We offer over 20 specialty positions or assignments to our officers who have over three years of law enforcement experience and have successfully completed the 15-month probationary period. Whether you are interested in working as a detective, a K-9 handler, or see yourself as a member of the SWAT team, the Sioux Falls Police Department offers diverse work opportunities. The department also offers internal promotions from Sergeant through Assistant Chief of Police. At the SFPD, you get the opportunities of a big city agency, in a small city package.

Academy Training

South Dakota Law Enforcement Certification is required to be an officer in the State of South Dakota. This is a 520-hour academy that teaches the basic skills necessary to perform as a law enforcement officer. There are three ways to attain the State of South Dakota Law Enforcement Certification.

  1. For certified officers and certain technical school graduates, passing the reciprocity examination will result in certification and attendance of the academy will not be required.
  2. From time to time, the SFPD will host a regional law enforcement academy on behalf of the Law Enforcement Training. This will be a full 520-hour academy held in Sioux Falls, SD. The hosting of this academy is dependent on the size of the SFPD hiring class.
  3. When there is not a regional academy, students will attend the 520-hour law enforcement academy in Pierre, SD.

Recruit Officer

When you begin your career with the SFPD, you will start out as a Recruit Officer. You will go through several weeks of pre-service training before you enter the academy or, with certain qualifications, you enter the Police Training Officer (PTO) program. Not all Recruits will attend the academy, but all will successfully complete a rigorous PTO training before they are able to hit the streets on their own. Upon completion of PTO you will be assigned to one of our three shifts through your first year of employment. After that you will be allowed to bid your shift by seniority and, at your 15-month mark, will be assigned your numbered badge and given the title of Police Officer.

Police Officer

Officers who successfully complete their probationary period will be assigned to one of our three shifts with various 8- and 10-hour work shifts available to bid. Our schedules are set for 1-year periods to allow for stability in the Patrol Officer's life. Most patrol officers will work for several years before earning specialty positions throughout the department. The SFPD uses a merit-based system for selections; if you want a spot you need to earn it. There are opportunities abound for hard workers with a spirit of service to our community. Some positions that can be earned include:

  • SWAT
  • Crisis Negotiators
  • Bomb Squad
  • Traffic Section / Motorcycle unit
  • Police Service Dog unit
  • Training Officer
  • Police Training Officer Coordinator
  • Armorer
  • School Resource Officer
  • Community Resource Officer
  • Mental Health Community Resource Officer
  • Property Crimes Detective
  • Crimes against Persons Detective
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Violent Crime Unit
  • Park Unit
  • Tactical Tracking Team
  • Unmanned Aerial Support Unit (Drone operator)
  • Dive Rescue Team
  • Mobile Field Force
  • Warrant Task Force Officer
  • Drug Recognition Expert
  • Public Information Officer


After four years, Officers and Detectives become eligible to enter the Civil Service promotional process. If they are successful, they will earn the rank of Sergeant and a gold badge. The Sergeants of the SFPD are the first line supervisors. They will begin their supervisory career as a Patrol Sergeant, leading the men and women of the SFPD on the streets. They are eligible, after a 6-month probationary period, to transfer to other Sergeant positions within the department, such as Detective Sergeant, Training Sergeant, or SRO Sergeant. Almost every unit listed above has a Sergeant or Sergeants supervising it, allowing for multiple career tracks even upon promotion.


Sergeants with at least one year in rank are eligible to apply for openings to the rank of Lieutenant. Those who are successful will enter the ranks of management within the department. There are currently nine Lieutenant positions in the SFPD, each leading a department sections or shifts.


The four Captains of our department command the divisions of the SFPD. These experienced managers are part of the department's Command Staff who help guide the direction of our department into the future. They work hand in hand with the Assistant Chief of Police and Chief of Police on policy, budget, personnel matters, and numerous other tasks.

Assistant Chief of Police

The Assistant Chief of Police is the second in command of the SFPD. They work very closely with the Chief and other city directors and are involved in all aspects of planning and management of the department.

Chief of Police

The Chief of Police is the head of the SFPD. They are the final say in policy matters, direction, future planning, and are involved in all aspects of the department's management. They work closely with the Mayor and City Council, citizen groups, and with multiple law enforcement partners regionally. The Chief of Police is an appointed position.