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U.S. Attorney appoints Gene Abdallah to coordinate South Dakota law enforcement

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Sioux Falls resident Gene Abdallah was appointed by U.S. Attorney Brendon Johnson to coordinate local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to work together. (Photo of Abdallah used with his permission)
Sioux Falls resident Gene Abdallah was appointed by U.S. Attorney Brendon Johnson to coordinate local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to work together. (Photo of Abdallah used with his permission)
Gene Abdallah interview on t... (Download MP3)

Sioux Falls S.D. (KELO AM) Coordinating law enforcement between local, state and federal agencies is sometimes more difficult than it may appear to an outsider.  To assure that South Dakota law enforcement is always on the same page, U.S. Attorney Brendon Johnson appointed Sioux Falls resident Gene Abdallah to train these agencies how to work together.

“For many years, there was a Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) to train local, state and federal agencies to work together,” said Abdallah.  “Due to budget cuts, the program fell off, and Attorney General Marty Jackley wanted to revive it again.  I couldn’t totally retire, so they asked me to do it on a part-time basis.”

Abdallah said he is going to bring back the LECC in coordination with the annual Law Enforcement Dinner.  There was always two days of training before the dinner and we are going to have some law enforcement experts on hand this year.  There will be a representative from the division of criminal investigation, an expert on human trafficking, the state’s attorneys will discuss how to prepare a case and the South Dakota Highway Patrol will put on a seminar on accident reconstruction.

“Throughout the year, we will schedule training with local law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s departments,” said Abdallah. “For example, the Sturgis Rally is an occasion where all agencies need to coordinate and work together.  At an event like Sturgis, agencies need to be trained so the one hand will know what the other is doing.”

Abdallah said it is very frustrating when one agency doesn’t know what the other is doing and it has happened a lot over the years.  We will be conducting training for each of these agencies to keep each other informed. 

“U.S. Attorney Brendon Johnson has lost a lot of budget dollars for this kind of training and he wants local, state and federal agencies to pool their resources,” said Abdallah.  “Like when I worked with the U.S. Marshal’s office, we had to rely on the local law enforcement or the highway patrol to assist us with a significant arrest.”

Abdallah said, to show my appreciation to local and state agencies, I used to clean out my freezer of wild game and have the Ramkota cook it up and we had an annual wild game feed.  Now it has turned into a pretty big event that everyone looks forward to.  What started out as a dinner for 50 has grown to around 2-thousand and is in coordination with a children’s charity.  For the past five years, this event has been sold out.  There have been some great speakers in the past to include Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI, former First Lady Laura Bush and Oliver North. 

Abdallah determined why Attorney Johnson asked a 76-year-old retiree to take this project on, and he said, “I work cheap, that’s all I can think of.”

Gene Abdallah was interviewed on the Greg Belfrage Show, July 9, 2013.

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