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Posted on: August 27, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: A Statement to the Residents of the City of Brookings from City Manager, Paul Briseno

A Statement to the Residents of the City of Brookings from City Manager, Paul Briseno


Brookings, SD - Recently the City of Brookings promoted Joe Fishbaugher to the position of Assistant Police Chief for the Brookings Police Department. Since then, members of the public have brought some concerns forward in reference to a situation that happened in 2016. I assure you that the city does not take these concerns lightly and much consideration was given in the hiring process.

Our employees, including our officers, are held to a higher standard. The City does not condone the 2016 actions. As an organization, we listen first before we judge and when mistakes occur, we work to correct, grow and learn from them.


Individuals who are brought into the organization and leadership positions such as the assistant chief must possess core traits of honesty, integrity, accountability, and be service-oriented. These traits are founded in our mission, and vision of the organization which strives to be a welcoming and inclusive community.


During the search to fill the position of the assistant police chief, all candidates were thoroughly vetted and I personally can assure you that Joe Fishbaugher will live our mission of treating all with respect and equality. He will live our core values while assuring we provide a safe place for all.


Joe will assist in leading our community engagement program. I encourage anyone interested in knowing more of Joe to reach out to him.


One of the questions that has been asked with these concerns is “what does Joe stand for?” In the statement below he has taken the opportunity to provide a personal statement.


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A Statement from Assistant Police Chief Joe Fishbaugher


In 2016 I made inappropriate comments on social media, and what I said was wrong. I acknowledge that I am a flawed person. That difficult time in my life was a cause for great reflection. It humbled me. I’ve used that experience to learn from my mistakes and to continue to use it as an example to remind myself and to teach others. This past week the choice that was made for me to hold the leadership position of Assistant Police Chief was brought into question due to my past actions, and I understand why. Today, I’m asking for forgiveness for what happened then.

I believe that to be a better leader, one must experience failure. In 2016 I failed. Since then I have taken what I have learned and used it to better myself and to also become more open to the viewpoints of others. I’ve put the community first in my life and continued to build relationships in our city. Once again in 2020, I find myself in a situation where I can experience more growth as a human being and to talk to members of the community and have conversations regarding the concerns which have been presented. I truly believe that everyone has the right to be listened to. Everyone has the right to be heard. My door is always open, and as the new Brookings Assistant Police Chief, I know the great amount of potential that exists within my position and my goal is to move forward as a community, facing issues and growing together to build an inclusive and safe Brookings we all call home.