Butler resigns as Philip’s Chief of Police
David Butler, known as “Butler” in the Philip (and surrounding areas) community, is hanging up his uniform as Chief of Police with the City of Philip’s Police Department. Growing up, Butler grew up knowing and being very comfortable with police officers and always carried some interest in the profession. Butler’s uncle was a police officer, as well as his best friend’s uncle and grandfather who were also police officers. “My uncle worked closely with them, and my family was very close with his,” he said.
His position with the City of Philip is what brought him to the area, having originated from Nebraska. “I was interested in law enforcement and had a good friend that knew of an opening in Philip,” he said. Butler said he was told to be patient after not receiving word from both the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Haakon County Sheriff’s Office, as a position may have been coming up soon. “I applied, was hired and here I am,” he said. Butler is married to his wife, Michelle, of 19 years and together they have three children: Kelcey, Katie and Lukas. They also have one family dog and each of the girls has a dog of their own.
During college, Butler joined the U.S. Army Reserves, transitioning to the South Dakota National Guard when he moved to South Dakota in 2000. After September 11th, Butler’s National Guard unit was activated and assigned with assisting the Air Force Security Forces at Ellsworth Air Force Base. While there, Butler said he held various assignments such as checking ID’s at the entrance gate, flight line security (which even included the B-1B bombers) and Butler’s personal favorite, acting as base law enforcement.
Butler says that law enforcement has changed in many ways since he joined the industry. During his initial time as an officer, dash cameras existed, but at that time, they required the officer to change the tapes. Another aspect that has improved since he began is the public’s perception of what a police officer does and is required to do. Butler also mentioned that there are more tools available now to assist a police officer in doing his/her job safely, as well as noting that technology has made substantial improvements, such as computers inside the patrol cars, automatic license plate readers and the digital speed signs currently displayed in Philip.
Though no direct mention of his next career move, Butler says he has a couple of opportunities he is exploring. The City of Philip has asked if he would stay certified, with the City being willing to sponsor trainings required to stay certified, so that in the event the City would need assistance, he would be available to do so. Whatever path he decides, Butler plans to stay in Philip. “This has become our home over the years and there are some great people here that I would miss if I left,” he said. “Besides that, I hate moving,” he added, anticipating that the transition will be a little strange. “I think [it will be strange] not having to make sure the phones get switched, being on call and having my uniform,” he said. “I am surrounded by supportive people all over Philip who have wished me the best moving forward.”
Butler feels that he has served the Philip community well. “I believe in a small town, you don’t just have one job,” he said, having assisted with the fire department, the American Legion, the Youth Baseball program and at one time becoming a Scout Leader. Butler has also been involved with his church. “There are numerous jobs that need done, and it takes a village as they say,” he said.
Though bittersweet, Butler stated his advice for the incoming Chief of Police is to get out and be involved in the community. He encourages the new Chief of Police to meet people, learn where they live, learn what they drive, talk to business owners within the community, engage with the school, attend games and even graduation. “Network! South Dakota has some great organizations involving law enforcement, draw on their experiences because, guaranteed someone else has been in a similar situation,” he said.
Also asked were some fun, rapid-fire questions.
This or That…
•Pandora or Spotify? Pandora
•Snacks: salty or sweet? Usually sweet
•Drive or fly? Drive
•Sand or snow? Sand
•Pancakes or waffles? Waffles, but not Belgian
•Movie or book? Movie
•Call or text? Text
•Night owl or early bird? Night owl
•Netflix or Hulu? Netflix