Pennington County Sheriff Provides Extended Rally Attendance and Assistance in Hill City

HILL CITY, SD – Whether you’re heading to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, or a plethora of other places in the Black Hills, Hill City is a bustling hub for travelers. And during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the population grows exponentially.

Whether on foot or by cruiser, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office maintains its duty to ensure the safety of the public.

“We get special delegates from all over. We’ve had Montana, Iowa – I believe we also have one that came from Delaware,” Sgt. Scott Sitzes said. “So, they come in from all over and work on the rally. And a lot of the guys that are here, have been here for several years and just keep coming back.”

This year, PCSO has hired seven new “temporary deputies” to add to the patrol. When they arrive in Pennington County, they are sworn in as members of the department. Once the rally is over, the deputies are dismantled and head back home.

But even with the huge spike in the region’s population, it remains relatively quiet. When members on patrol are approached by people, it is often for something as simple as directions or questions about the area.

“We get a lot of people who come up to us and say, ‘Hey, where is this’ or ‘where is this restaurant’ or ‘I just saw a couple of bikes collide with each other.’ That’s what we’re running into,” said Sgt. said Sitz.

During his Sunday afternoon patrol, the civilians even stopped to express their gratitude to Sgt. Sitzes, along with friendly conversation. And as much as people tend to have a preconceived notion that rally-goers are noisy, Sgt. Sitzes says it’s often the opposite — with almost everyone there to have fun.

“It’s great to be so embedded in that community here that people feel comfortable coming to visit us,” he adds.

Of course, sergeant. Sitzes advises attendees to be mindful of themselves and everyone else, whether on the bike or not. Things like loud music and running engines can distract riders and the public from their surroundings. And in an emergency, police responding to an incident in the area can be stopped and prevented from arriving on time.

Road closures are another option. Riders should anticipate and be prepared to take alternative routes to their destination, no matter how short or long the diversion is.

But above all, the rally is a time to have fun. The sheriff’s office is on hand to provide assistance, and maybe even a restaurant recommendation or two.

“If you see us, don’t be afraid to say hello. Or if you have any questions, come upstairs,” said Sgt. said Sitz. “We’re happy to give directions or anything else anyone might need.”

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